JAMA Logo Glaucoma, one of the world’s leading causes of permanent vision loss is known as a group of diseases which damage the optic nerve. In an attempt to identify risk factors of this eye condtion, experts found that increased pressure inside the eye, cornea thinning and visual field loss can serve as markers for glaucoma progression. Other risk factors probably include presence of disc hemorrhage in the retina of the eye and atrophy in part of the eye.

Data from a total of 587 patients who were a part of the New York Glaucoma Progression Study was thoroughly evaluated. Scientists not only examined disc photographs and visual field analysis, but also measured peak intraocular pressure (IOP). It was mentioned that IOP is the highest level of pressure in the fluid within the eye. Glaucoma was found to be progressing when peak IOP appeared 18 mm Hg or higher.

It is believed that the effect of IOP has a significant impact on the progress of glaucoma. Simply measuring IOP can supposedly help clinicians decide how aggressively to treat specific patients to slow the rate of glaucoma progression. Carlos Gustavo V. De Moraes, M.D., from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and colleagues note that disc hemorrhage can be ‘an indirect sign’ of visual field loss that has already occurred.

The study is published in the May issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.