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Glaucoma, Normal Tension

Intro

Regular eye examinations with an ophthalmologist are important to screen for optic nerve damage and vision loss despite a normal eye pressure.

Those who are suspected of having normal-tension glaucoma  may also undergo a physical examination with a doctor who is familiar with both cardiovascular disease (those involving the heart and the blood vessels) and neurologic disorders (those involving the nervous system) because of their association with this type of glaucoma.

Your ophthalmologist will want to know if there is a history of glaucoma or optic nerve abnormalities in your family because these conditions are often inherited.

During your eye examination, your ophthalmologist will also ask you about the following, all of which may be associated with normal-tension glaucoma:

  • Past ocular history
  • Current medication, including use of steroids
  • Any illnesses
    • Vasospasms, such as Raynaud syndrome
    • Coagulopathies (These disease affect the ability of the blood to clot.)
    • Previous blood loss or shocklike episodes
    • Nocturnal hypotension (Below normal blood pressure occurs during the nighttime hours.)
    • Autoimmune disorders (Normal tissues no longer function or are destroyed by the body's own immune system .)
    • Vascular disease, including atherosclerosis (In atherosclerosis, the arteries are blocked or closed.)
    • Thyroid disease
    • Sleep apnea (Breathing is interrupted or momentarily stopped while sleeping, particularly prevalent in people who are overweight.)
    • Alzheimer disease

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Self-Care at Home

If your ophthalmologist prescribes medicines to help in lowering the pressure inside your eye, properly applying the medication and complying with your eye doctor's instructions are very important. Otherwise, your condition may worsen.

Follow-up

If you have normal-tension glaucoma, you will have regular follow-up visits with your ophthalmologist to monitor for progression of this condition. Follow-up visits are typically scheduled every 3-6 months.

Prevention

Normal-tension glaucoma cannot be prevented; however, with regular eye examinations by an ophthalmologist, any further progression can hopefully be avoided.

Outlook

With early diagnosis and medical treatment, further optic nerve damage and/or vision loss may be prevented. If this condition is not detected early, permanent loss of vision can occur.

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