Article Date: 5/1/2002

o.d. to o.d.
Glaucoma Management
One of the biggest advancements in our profession occurred at just the right time.
BY NEIL B. GAILMARD, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor

Few would argue that the treatment of glaucoma is one of the most important advancements in the scope of optometry over the past 20 years, possibly in the entire history of the profession.

While the roots of our profession are based in the correction of vision problems, which in itself is a vital contribution to society, direct intervention to change the course of a disease that leads to blindness is an awesome responsibility. And it's one that our profession is responding to very well.

Making improvements

In the 44 states that currently authorize optometrists to treat glaucoma, thousands of optometrists are caring for patients who have the disease or who are at high risk. These doctors are busy improving their clinical skills through independent study and continuing education.

O.D.s who don't currently manage glaucoma patients are going back to school to gain the privileges and certification necessary to provide this care. And the leading optometric glaucoma specialists in our profession are busy teaching others through lecturing and writing. It's a hot topic.

The need for glaucoma therapy

From a public health perspective, optometry's involvement is greatly needed. Consider these statistics from Prevent Blindness America: One in 30 Americans age 40 and older has glaucoma, and at least half of all persons with the disease are unaware that they have it.

By the year 2030 a near doubling of the number of cases of glaucoma will occur, mostly because of the aging population. African-Americans are about 5 times more likely than Caucasian-Americans to develop the disease.

Leading the way

This month, we're proud to present a special Optometric Management "Glaucoma Update." We have assembled some of the leading minds in our profession to present the latest in diagnostic technology and pharmaceutical therapy.

We've put together a great mix of topics such as Dr. Jim Thimons's clear-and-concise guide to prescribing prostaglandins, and Dr. Jerry Sherman's overview of new glaucoma diagnostic instruments. And there's a unique offering by Dr. Marc Bloomenstein on how refractive surgery can alter the data you rely on for glaucoma diagnosis.

We round this glaucoma issue out with three short articles of interest by Drs. Chris Quinn and Glara Yi on the Proview tonometer, laser trabeculoplasty and glaucoma genetics.

More great information

This issue of OM is a must-read for lots of other reasons, but I will single out an article. Senior Associate Editor Karen Rodemich has written an excellent article on the trend toward electronic medical records with an accompanying buyer's matrix of software companies and features. Many optometrists are in the planning stages of adopting paperless record programs and this guide will provide major assistance.

Please post your comments in the OM Forum at


Optometric Management, Issue: May 2002