New technology may make it possible to detect narrow-angle glaucoma earlier

June 12, 2008

A new imaging device could possibly help physicians detect narrow-angle glaucoma earlier and more accurately, researchers report.

Durham, NC-A new imaging device could possibly help physicians detect narrow-angle glaucoma earlier and more accurately, researchers report. The technology, Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT)will be available at teaching or university hospitals within 5 years, researchers at Duke University Medical Center predict, but it will be longer before there's widespread use.

"Narrow angle glaucoma is one-third the prevalence of open-angle glaucoma worldwide but it is more blinding than open-angle glaucoma. It will be the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world by the year 2050," said study author Sanjay Asrani, MD, an associate professor of ophthalmology with the Duke Eye Center. "That's why this [new imaging instrument] has such strategic significance."

"The approach is exciting as it may offer us another tool to help us detect this potential risk," said Andrew Iwach, MD a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco. "It will also help us further refine our ability to decide who needs laser surgery or not."

"The problem with narrow-angle glaucoma is that it's sometimes difficult to diagnose," said Robert Cykiert, MD, an associate professor of ophthalmology at New York University Langone Medical Center. "You have to apply a special lens to diagnose narrow-angle glaucoma, [but] when we apply this lens, we're changing the anatomy of the eye. Sometimes we change the appearance of the angle. You can't be sure of the diagnosis because part of the examination is actually changing what you're looking at."