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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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In what percentage of patients with open angle glaucoma does

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in what percentage of patients with open angle glaucoma does significant blindness occur?
I was diagnosed with this about 9 years ago and had trabeculectomy surgery in one eye to relieve pressure. My pressures are consistently good, about 7 in the operated eye and 11 in the other eye. I use travatan z and timolol in the unoperated eye 1x daily for each med. My visual field test today however showed slight new visual field loss and will be repeated in 6 weeks. I also had "pictures" taken of the back of both eyes and they showed slight disease progression and thinning of the optic nerve. I thought if pressures were good I wouldn't be at great risk for progression so I am surprised and scared. Is there hope that I may be able to avoid blindness or is it inevitable over the short or long term? Again, my question is whether or not i will be totally of mostly blind with advancig age. I am currently 66 years old.

Hello and thank you for your question. Your fears about blindness are valid. In the U.S. there are not many people who have significant vision impairment from glaucoma; estimates range from 85,000-110,000 people who have open angle glaucoma have significant visual impairment in the U.S. The number of people who are blind in both eyes from glaucoma in the entire world is only roughly 3 million. These are estimates from a website that I think are fairly accurate portrayals.

The bottom-line is, it is a very uncommon person who loses functional vision in both eyes from glaucoma. There are people that are more at risk of that than others, such as African-Americans. Caucasians have less risk of this sort of advanced glaucoma.

One of the important things to take into account is that overall glaucoma is a slowly progressing disease and if the pressure is able to brought low enough, then any vision loss that is happening generally stops. The determination as to how low is low enough is different for everyone. However, if indeed you are sustaining vision damage at your current pressures, it may be necessary to drive them lower with different therapies.

So, in summary, it is not inevitable that you will be blind over the short or long-term. The most important thing you can do is to keep up with your doctor's appointments, take your drops religiously, but then ask questions of your doctor and be as involved in your own care as possible.

Does that make sense and does that help address your concerns?

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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must be examined by your doctor.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
How low can pressures be taken without risk of eyeball collapsing?
As long as the eyeball is pressurized, meaning the eyeball if formed, a pressure of 1 is okay. In other words, as long as the eye looks like it is formed as it should, as low as a pressure of 1 is okay.