Clinical characteristics and current treatment of glaucoma


Cohen LP, Pasquale LR. Clinical characteristics and current treatment of glaucoma. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2014;4(6)

Date Published:

2014 Jun 02


Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disorder in which degenerating retinal ganglion cells (RGC) produce significant visual disability. Clinically, glaucoma refers to an array of conditions associated with variably elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) that contributes to RGC loss via mechanical stress, vascular abnormalities, and other mechanisms, such as immune phenomena. The clinical diagnosis of glaucoma requires assessment of the ocular anterior segment with slit lamp biomicroscopy, which allows the clinician to recognize signs of conditions that can produce elevated IOP. After measurement of IOP, a specialized prismatic lens called a gonioscope is used to determine whether the angle is physically open or closed. The structural manifestation of RGC loss is optic nerve head atrophy and excavation of the neuroretinal rim tissue. Treatment is guided by addressing secondary causes for elevated IOP (such as inflammation, infection, and ischemia) whenever possible. Subsequently, a variety of medical, laser, and surgical options are used to achieve a target IOP.

See also: Glaucoma, June 2014, All, 2014
Last updated on 11/12/2018