Eye Health – Glaucoma (Part 6)

Dr S S Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S S Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist

In conjunction with World Glaucoma Awareness Week, Ipoh Echo talks to Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill about this “silent thief of sight” – PART 6

Glaucoma as you know has been nicknamed the “silent thief of sight”. This disease results in permanent irreversible blindness in the affected eye(s) that often goes without symptoms until the loss of vision is significant or the patient is blind. Early diagnosis means early treatment and therefore prevention of major loss of vision. Diagnosing glaucoma may require elaborate testing to be done by the eye doctor.

The following are basically the tests that are done before making a diagnosis of glaucoma:

Examination of:                                                                     Name of  Eye Test:
Eye Pressure                                                                           Tonometry
Angle of the eye where the aqueous (eye fluid) drains                  Gonioscopy
Optic Nerve check                                                                    Ophthalmoscopy (dilated eye exam)
Field of Vision                                                                          Perimetry
Thickness of the Optic Nerve Fibre Layer                                    Ocular Coherence Tomography Scan

Test numbers 1, 2, and 3 were already discussed in the previous issue (141) of the Ipoh Echo.

4. Visual Fields

Visual field test (perimetry)

Glaucoma-Visual Field Testing (Perimetry) - Dr S.S. GillA visual field test (perimetry) checks for the “missing areas” of vision. This is done using a machine called Perimeter (photo on the left)

You will be shown a sequence of lights that appear in the periphery of a dome. Should you be able to see the lights appearing on and off within the dome of the machine, you will then be asked to click on a button.

If you cannot see the spots in your peripheral vision, it may indicate that the glaucoma has damaged your vision.

5. Ocular Coherence Tomography (O.C.T.) Scan

Glaucoma-Visual Field Testing (Perimetry) - Dr S.S. GillThe O.C.T. Scan is a newer and accurate way of determining whether or not a person has glaucoma. In glaucoma the retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) gets thinned-out resulting in loss of vision peripherally (tunnel-vision).

The O.C.T. Scan is able to measure this thickness of the retinal nerve fibre layer (that gets thinned out in glaucoma) thereby accurately confirming diagnosis.

In a confirmed glaucoma patient, by serially checking the RNFL, it can detect whether the glaucoma is worsening or not. This test has made glaucoma evaluation much simpler and more reliable. The downside is that the test may not be available in every eye clinic.

For more information, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at  05-5455582, email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit: www.fatimah.com.my.