What is a glaucoma suspect?

Updated: Jul 27, 2020
  • Author: Robert H Graham, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
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Glaucoma suspect describes a person with one or more risk factors that may lead to glaucoma, but this individual does not have definite glaucomatous optic nerve damage or visual field defect. A great overlap can exist between findings in patients with early glaucoma and those who are glaucoma suspect without the disease. [1, 2, 3] Five to 10 million Americans with ocular hypertension have elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) above 21 mm Hg without evidence of damage. Many of these patients are being treated, but the indications for treatment are not clear-cut. Many others are glaucoma suspect based on the suspicious appearance of the optic nerve head or other risk factors.

With an earlier accurate diagnosis and timely therapy, the goal for this century should be to prevent glaucoma-related blindness. For example, during Glaucoma 2001, a public service project of the foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, individuals with sufficient risk factors that make them susceptible to glaucomatous visual loss were identified and evaluated. The goal of identifying and treating patients who are glaucoma suspect is to preserve visual function by monitoring them for the earliest signs of glaucomatous damage. In individuals who are at a high risk of developing glaucomatous damage, preventive measures, including lowering IOP, may be indicated.

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