At Vision Source Specialists, Dr. Pearson and Dr. Wattenhofer use two new technologies, in addition to traditional testing, to diagnose glaucoma earlier. One screening we use is called the Ganglion Cell Complex Analysis, and it is performed on every patient at every comprehensive exam. This is done with a simple, non-invasive retinal scan called the iWellness scan. The Ganglion Cell Complex is the specific layer of cells that are damaged in glaucoma, so isolating and analyzing this layer can detect glaucoma before other traditional testing.
When a patient is showing possible signs of glaucoma, the doctors use traditional testing along with another test called Pattern Electroretinography (pERG) to detect early glaucoma. Traditional tests for glaucoma measure cell death over time (or the vision loss associated with cell death). The pERG test is different because it measures stress on the living cells, which highly correlates with glaucoma. If this stress is detected early, we may be able to treat glaucoma before there is any vision loss at all.
Research suggests that 1/3 to 1/2 of our Retinal Ganglion Cells are dead before vision loss can be detected on a traditional Visual Field test. Glaucoma is not treatable, but it is manageable. Once vision loss is present, we can never gain it back, so it is very important to detect and treat glaucoma early. If we can detect and treat glaucoma earlier, another possible benefit will be less need for invasive surgeries later in life.
We don’t have a cure for glaucoma, but vision loss can be slowed. Our treatment goal is to help patients maintain functional vision throughout their lives. The earlier we detect and treat glaucoma, the more likely we are to reach this goal.