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The Importance of Assessing the Angle in Glaucoma Management

Nichol & Associates, Attorneys at Law July 13, 2020

Ophthalmologists in Knoxville, Tennessee and the wider region are realizing the importance of assessing and visualizing the angle when treating glaucoma. The state of the angle and its rate of closure are crucial in diagnosing and staging glaucoma and are directly correlated to the different IOP elevation factors.

Indirect methods such as the van Herick method may be insufficient to measure the width of the angle, and it has a success rate of less than 60% with technicians. The van Herick method is often associated with misdiagnoses. This is because it often fails to detect elements of glaucoma in patients without evident symptoms or risk factors.

A gonioscopy, on the other hand, allows the technician or doctor to view a complete 360 degree image of the angle. Even if the reason for elevated pressure isn’t glaucoma, the gonioscopy can help the ophthalmologist to determine the underlying cause of the presented pathology. The gonioscopy is so useful that many ophthalmologists suggest performing it as a standard routine procedure on all patients to determine the existence of glaucoma and detect it in its earliest stages.

Gonioscopies must be performed by a trained and qualified practitioner to ensure that the procedure is beneficial for the patient. Other alternatives to gonioscopies include ultrasound biomicroscopies and optical coherence tomographies. Even so, these procedures are most effective when performed in tandem with a gonioscopy. Gonioscopies are only contradindicated for patients who are unable to sit through a procedure that involves contact.

In a situation in which an ophthalmologist has failed to use the appropriate procedures for visualizing and assessing the angle, the patient may be entitled to compensation for medical malpractice. A lawyer with a background in medical malpractice may be able to assist the patient in obtaining compensation from the medical practitioner at fault or even the insurance company.