Glaucoma, the most preventable cause of vision loss in the developed world, affects millions of Americans, often without any symptoms until vision has been lost. Routine eye examinations and glaucoma screening could prevent the overwhelming majority of cases of vision loss.

Pressure in an eye with glaucoma damages the optic nerve in the back of the eye and, if untreated, can lead to vision loss. Several new tools have recently emerged from ophthalmology research laboratories to become part of the state-of-the-art eye care that glaucoma specialists at Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Chevy Chase, Maryland provide.

Dr. Howard Weiss, Dr. Arthur Schwartz, and Dr. Kenneth Schwartz have been investigators in clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. These include the Advanced Glaucoma Intervention Study and the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study. Dr. Lisa Tom and Dr. Lindsay Dawson have published in the top glaucoma journals and offer the latest treatments in glaucoma.

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Optic Nerve Imaging

An optic nerve imaging device takes a 3-dimensional image of the optic nerve in the back of the eye. This is the nerve that carries vision from the eye to the brain and is the part of the eye damaged in glaucoma. In a matter of seconds, as many as thirty million measurements are made of the optic nerve and its surrounding structures. The remarkable resulting images can be used to identify glaucoma and follow known glaucoma patients.

Corneal Thickness

Drs. Schwartz and Weiss and many of their patients participated in a pioneering study at the NIH showing the importance of corneal thickness in the care of glaucoma patients. Corneal Pachymetry measures the thickness of the cornea which has been found to influence the accuracy of pressure measurements. Corneal thickness also predicts which patients with high pressure are more likely to have damage to their optic nerves. This painless ultrasound test takes only a few minutes for our ophthalmic technicians to perform.

Visual Field

A visual field test looks for a decrease in peripheral vision. This test will often pick up on changes before the patient notices. Many eye diseases can cause a decrease in visual field. Certain patterns of visual field loss are associated with specific diseases.


The doctors at Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons are experts at detecting signs of glaucoma on physical exam. These signs include thinning of the optic nerve, increases in eye pressure, scarring in the drain of the eye, and evidence of inflammation or trauma.




Dr. Arthur Schwartz was a pioneer in the development of laser trabeculoplasty. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty lowers eye pressure by improving the fluid outflow from the eye. It is sometimes called a “cool laser” because the ultra-short pulses of very low energy generate no heat. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty appears to have the same benefit as the classic treatment, argon laser trabeculoplasty, in lowering pressure, but without the heat damage and scarring. It is believed that SLT, unlike argon laser trabeculoplasty, may be repeated safely many times and may also be used in patients who have had previous argon laser trabeculoplasty. This glaucoma laser surgery has been performed successfully in thousands of ophthalmology patients throughout the world.

Improved eye drops, which are easier to use and may have fewer side effects, are another tool in the treatment of glaucoma. Pills and surgeries can also lower eye pressure to help manage glaucoma. Talk with your eye doctor about treatments for glaucoma and which are best for you.

Drs. Schwartz and Weiss have co-authored a chapter on Laser Treatment of Glaucoma for one of the major textbooks in ophthalmology, and all three, as well as Dr. Dawson, teach at Georgetown University and the Washington Hospital Center. For over twenty years, Dr. Weiss was the Civilian Glaucoma Consultant at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

Dr. Tom, Dr. Dawson, Dr. Schwartz, and Dr. Weiss are experts in the medical and surgical treatment of glaucoma.

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