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Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steals sight without warning and often without symptoms. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires and is responsible for carrying the images we see to the brain.

It was once thought that high intraocular pressure (IOP) was the main cause of this optic nerve damage. Although IOP is clearly a risk factor, we now know that other factors must also be involved because even people with "normal" IOP can experience vision loss from glaucoma.

Different Types of Glaucoma

The two main types of glaucoma are open angle glaucoma, or primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle closure glaucoma.

Early detection, through regular and complete eye exams, is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma.

Four Main Tests for Glaucoma

Regular glaucoma check-ups include two routine eye tests: tonometry and ophthalmoscopy.

The tonometry test measures the inner pressure of the eye. Usually drops are used to numb the eye. Then the doctor or technician will use a special device that measures the eye’s pressure.

Ophthalmoscopy is used to examine the inside of the eye, especially the optic nerve. In a darkened room, the doctor will magnify your eye by using an ophthalmoscope (an instrument with a small light on the end). This helps the doctor look at the shape and color of the optic nerve.

If the pressure in the eye is not in the normal range, or if the optic nerve looks unusual, then one or two special glaucoma tests will be done. These two tests are called perimetry and gonioscopy.

The perimetry test is also called a visual field test. During this test, you will be asked to look straight ahead and then indicate when a moving light passes your peripheral (or side) vision. This helps draw a "map" of your vision.

Gonioscopy is a painless eye test that checks if the angle where the iris meets the cornea is open or closed, showing if either open angle or closed angle glaucoma is present.

It is important to have your eyes examined regularly. Your eyes should be tested at:

  • Ages 35 and 40
  • After age 40, every two to four years
  • After age 60, every one to two years
  • Those with any high risk factors, every one to two years after age 35


Xalatan is one of many treatments.


Alcon Laboratories company
  Travatan brand name
  Travaprost generic
Pharmacia Corp. company
  Xalatan brand name
  Latanoprost generic

Increases drainage of intraocular fluid
Side effects In initial studies, between 5% and 15% of people who used this medication reported a gradual change in eye color, due to an increased amount of brown pigment in the iris of the treated eye. The change in eye color occurs slowly and may not be noticeable for several months to years. Other side effects can include stinging, blurred vision, eye redness, itching, and burning. These medications is new to the market and long term follow up of people who use it is not yet available.

TGF Support Groups:

Support Group with Professional Speakers
TGF has embarked on a new partnership with The Glaucoma Support and Education Group of New York City – a well-established, speaker-driven support community that is dedicated to distributing an information-packed newsletter to patients across the country.

Other Support Groups
In addition to online forums, there are many local groups across the country that offer invaluable information, assistance and comfort to glaucoma patients.

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