Glaucoma is an eye disease that can affect anyone at any age, but it tends to be more prevalent in older adults. The National Institutes of Health states that everyone over the age of 40 should be tested for glaucoma at least once every five years.
However a new study suggests that more frequent testing can be useful in catching the disease early, which gives individuals their best shot at preventing vision loss. Researchers at the Jules Stein Eye Institute in California performed eye exams on adults between the ages of 35 and 80 who had already been diagnosed with glaucoma over the course of three to nine years.
"We found that a twice-yearly schedule of visual field testing resulted in earlier detection of glaucoma progression compared with a yearly schedule, especially with global trend analyses," the researchers stated. "Our results have significant health care policy implications with regard to determining the frequency of visual field testing in patients with glaucoma."
If doctors are better able to monitor the progression of the disease, more options will be available for treatment, which could help adults who suffer from glaucoma preserve their eyesight. Glaucoma patients who have limited visibility can use personal emergency response systems that can get medical help at the push of a button.