A "glaucoma suspect" is someone who has some of the features of glaucoma, but not sufficient to warrant treatment.A glaucoma suspect might be someone who has:
- a raised pressure (range 20-30) but all other tests are normal
- abnormal-looking optic nerves, but all other tests are normal
- a slightly abnormal visual field (peripheral vision) test, but all other tests are normal
- a positive family history together with one of the above features.
"Glaucoma suspects" require regular checkups for some years. These tests are usually performed every year. Tests usually involve measuring pressure, looking at the optic nerve (and usually comparing it with baseline photos taken at the first visit) a computerised Visual field test and OCT
In general the higher the pressure the more likely a patient is to get glaucoma. Patients whose pressures are 35 all get glaucoma. Of those whose pressures are consistently around 30, about 80% get glaucoma. The patient whose pressures are 25 has an 25% risk. The patient whose pressures are 23 has a 10% risk.
If your doctor thinks you are a "glaucoma suspect" it is very important to tell all your brothers and sisters and any children over age 40 to go and have a glaucoma test. If any of these "first degree relatives" are told they have glaucoma or are glaucoma suspects, you must tell your doctor. High pressures can not only cause optic nerve damage (glaucoma) but can lead to greater incidence of having retinal vascular problems such as central and branch retinal vein occlusions. Your doctor may lower the eye pressure just to reduce this risk alone.