Recommendations abound over how often a patient with a certain disease should be evaluated. These recommendations are variable as many of you may have experienced, having seen other doctors before coming under my care. In fact, if you spoke to other patients in the examining rooms while you are with us, you may be puzzled to find out that some patients are being seen as often as every two or three months, and others of you may only be seen as often as every six months or one year. First you must find out whether you have glaucoma, or are a suspect for glaucoma.

Let us speak about a patient with true glaucoma of the open angle variety that is controlled. Visits are usually about every three or four months for intraocular pressure readings. At one of those visits may perform gonioscopy and look in the angle, unless the patient has certain conditions where this is needed more or less often.

At one of the examinations, we like to dilate the eyes, if the eyes can be dilated. The purpose of this examination is to get a very careful detailed look at the optic nerve and to evaluate the overall health of the eyes.

The visual field test is usually performed once a year for people with established glaucoma, as well. If you add up the cost of this care, you will have approximately two or three glaucoma evaluations, one complete dilated evaluation, with a detailed look at the optic nerve, one visual field, and maybe one gonioscopy every year. Photographs of the optic nerve are taken every year or two.  New devices that scan the optic nerve are being used to assist in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma.  This evaluation may be repeated every few years.

If, however, any problems arise or the disease becomes progressive or uncontrolled, more frequent visits and testing become necessary.

Please e-mail our office if you have any questions about glaucoma suspects and the frequencies of their evaluations and examinations.

- Dr. Lawrence M. Hurvitz, MD