Glaucoma is a widespread eye disease that affects over 2.7 million people in the United States. Beginning with vision loss and potentially leading to blindness, glaucoma can have very serious consequences; however proper medical care can slow or prevent further vision loss. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, focused on increasing early detection and treatment of this disease.
Everyone should have regular eye exams to assure eye health and proper vision, but these checkups are especially vital for those at higher risk for glaucoma. This includes people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent; people over 60; people with a family history of glaucoma; diabetics; and severely nearsighted people. Screening for glaucoma in a standard eye exam is done through measurements of intraocular pressure. This measurement is done with tonometers, which are addressed in the American National Standard (ANS) ANSI Z80.10-2009, Ophthalmics - Ophthalmic Instruments - Tonometers. Developed by The Vision Council, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), this standard specifies minimum requirements and the design compliance procedure for tonometers.
Once a patient has been diagnosed with glaucoma, frequent monitoring of the eye and the disease's progression is a key part of treatment, especially for suspected cases or those in the early stages of the disease. This monitoring is done in part through imaging of the optic nerve using laser scans that can detect changes in the nerve at a microscopic level. IEC 60601-2-22 Ed. 3.1 b:2012, Medical electrical equipment - Part 2-22: Particular requirements for basic safety and essential performance of surgical, cosmetic, therapeutic and diagnostic laser equipment, is an International Standard that guides the safe and effective development and production of this equipment. This standard was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee (TC) 76, Optical radiation safety and laser equipment. The U.S. holds the secretariat of this committee, and the United States National Committee (USNC) has delegated secretariat duties to William Ertle, president of Rockwell Laser Industries, Inc. Thomas Lieb of L*A*I International serves as chairman. The USNC-approved Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator for TC 76 is the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.
Many glaucoma patients undergo surgery to prevent or slow further vision loss. ANSI Z80.27-2014, Ophthalmics - Implantable Glaucoma Devices, developed by The Vision Council, applies to devices that are implanted in the eye to treat glaucoma by facilitating aqueous outflow. These devices allow fluids to flow out of the eye more easily, reducing ocular pressure. While a temporary solution, these surgeries are often the best treatment option for patients with glaucoma.During January and all year long, Americans should take great care to protect their eye health and catch any signs of glaucoma at an early stage. To learn more, visit www.glaucoma.org.