When to Consult a Glaucoma Specialist

When to refer to a glaucoma specialist | Burlington County Eye PhysiciansNot everyone needs to see a glaucoma specialist to be evaluated for glaucoma, but when should a glaucoma specialist be consulted?

January is national Glaucoma Awareness month where the World Health Organization highlights glaucoma awareness.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide.  By increasing education about this blinding disease through articles such as these, the World Health Organization hopes to increase awareness and decrease blindness.

Becoming a Glaucoma Specialist

A glaucoma specialist is an ophthalmologist who has completed a “fellowship” in the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma.  This fellowship follows an Ophthalmology residency which we all complete to become a general ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma specialists often limit their practice to the treatment of more complicated cases of glaucoma.  Many glaucoma specialists combine glaucoma treatments with a more “general” eye practice, that is, they do not limit their practice to only those with glaucoma.

Dr. Lennox-Thomas is our glaucoma specialist.  

Who Treats Glaucoma

Most general ophthalmologists and optometrists (may vary by state) are trained to diagnose and treat glaucoma.  Glaucoma testing includes intake of a complete medical history and family history, dilation of the pupils, measurement of your eye pressure, assessment of your peripheral vision via visual field testing and digital measurements of your optic nerve.

Most general ophthalmologists and optometrists are equipped to provide an initial assessment.

The mainstay of glaucoma treatment is to reduce eye pressure.  This is often achieved with topical drops, but may involve laser surgery or other specific glaucoma eye surgeries.  

Consultation with Glaucoma Specialist

The decision to consult a glaucoma specialist varies from region to region and depends upon your physical access to a specialist and the complexity of the disease.

In our office, because we have a glaucoma specialist “in house,” we tend to refer many of our glaucoma patients who might not be referred in other regions.  This is an added benefit to our patients.

When glaucoma management becomes complicated or the disease does not seem to be controlled, consultation with a glaucoma specialist may be a good idea.  

A glaucoma specialist can use the same medications, but also has the advantage of using lasers and specialized glaucoma surgical procedures in his/her armamentarium.