Glaucoma

The various types of glaucoma have also been considered already, and the reader would realise that glaucoma is simply the manifestation of a group of diseases, each of which has a different prognosis and treatment. Chronic simple, or open-angle, glaucoma is the important kind in the elderly because it often remains undiag-nosed. The physician and optometrist can play a vital part in the screening of this disease by becoming familiar with the nature of glauco-matous cupping of the optic disc. About 1% of the population over the age of 55 years is thought to suffer from chronic simple glaucoma and the figure could rise to as high as 30% in those over 75 years. In most instances, the treatment is simple but requires the co-operation and understanding of the patient. The treatment is preventative of further visual loss rather than curative. Chronic simple glaucoma is best managed in an eye unit on a long-term basis. By this means, the visual fields and intraocular pressure can be accurately monitored and the treatment adjusted as required. More recently, the care of glaucoma patients is being shared between hospital units and selected (trained) optometrists in the community.

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