Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. It is a complex group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. Glaucoma is irreversible and cannot be cured – it can only be managed to delay or prevent blindness.
“With glaucoma, we only know we have been successful if the patient dies before he goes blind.”
The goal once glaucoma is detected is to make the remaining vision last the rest of the patient’s life. Glaucoma is sneaky – patients often don’t realize they are slowly losing vision. The clock is ticking once glaucoma is detected. Click here to see a glaucoma simulation.
Glaucoma co-management rules have been in place since 1999. If an optometrist suspects that a patient has glaucoma, the optometrist must have the diagnosis confirmed by an ophthalmologist within 30 days. From that point forward, the patient may choose to see the optometrist for convenience, coupled with periodic physician monitoring. When these co-management rules are not following properly there is the potential for the patient to go blind.
Therapeutic optometrists simply do not have the skills, training and education to manage this devastating disease independently.
Collaboration with an ophthalmologist is absolutely necessary; that’s why it is state law.