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How is the stage of glaucoma determined?

Glaucoma can be staged by many methods. One method involves staging the disease by how much vision loss is present on the visual-field test. Unfortunately, relying on the present-day visual-field tests for staging may underestimate the severity of the damage, as the visual field remains normal until there is substantial damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is therefore probably best staged early in the disease by the amount of damage to the optic nerve.
Unfortunately, we can never know exactly how much nerve damage is present, but we can often make a good estimate. In most patients with glaucoma, 50% or sometimes even more of the nerve can be damaged before any visual-field abnormalities can be detected. Therefore, glaucomatous optic-nerve damage at this level without visual-field loss is usually considered early glaucoma.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.