Doctors use several systems to categorize how glaucoma progresses. Many doctors classify glaucoma as mild, moderate, or advanced. But some systems use a more detailed scale.
Glaucoma often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progresses, it may cause:
Experts have developed at least
While no system is recognized as the gold standard, they all share some similarities. A higher stage correlates with more vision loss or structural damage to your optic nerve.
In this article, we look at some of the ways doctors stage glaucoma and how your stage affects your treatment.
Glaucoma is a progressive condition. Let’s look at how some of the staging systems measure this progression.
International Classification of Disease
The World Health Organization’s
In this classification system, doctors use a visual field test to divide your vision into three regions:
- superior hemifield: the top half of your visual field
- inferior hemifield: the lower half of your visual field
- central 5 degrees: your central 5 degrees of vision
Glaucoma is staged from mild to advanced based on the results:
|Mild||No visual problem|
|Moderate||Problems in either hemifield|
|Advanced||Problems in central 5 degrees or both hemifields|
The Hodapp-Parrish-Anderson method stages glaucoma based on
- the overall extent of damage using:
- mean deviation, the degree of vision loss compared to the expected for your age
- the number of areas of vision loss
- the location of vision loss
This system divides glaucoma from early to severe based on these changes.
Mills system (GSS)
It classifies glaucoma stages from stage 0 to stage 5.
|0||High pressure in your eye but no signs of visual loss|
|5||End stage, no vision in worst eye|
Enhanced glaucoma staging system (GSS-2)
Later in 2006, the
Global glaucoma system (GGSS)
- the degree of damage to the retinal tissue surrounding your optic nerve
- the degree of vision loss measured with visual field testing
GGSS divides glaucoma into:
- early damage
- moderate damage
- advanced damage
- terminal damage
What does glaucoma staging mean for me?
Glaucoma is a progressive condition that can lead to complete vision loss if not managed properly. No matter what staging system your doctor uses, a higher stage correlates with a higher degree of vision loss or structural damage.
Your doctor can help you interpret what your glaucoma stage means and advise on steps to take minimize future vision loss. Many people never have noticeable vision loss if they effectively manage their glaucoma.
With early detection and treatment, glaucoma doesn’t cause most people’s vision to change quickly enough to cause noticeable vision loss. It can take
Doctors treat glaucoma primarily by lowering the pressure in your eye. The best treatment depends on the type and severity of your glaucoma. At this time, treatment aims to minimize future vision loss but can’t reverse damage.
If you have advanced glaucoma, your doctor may want to be more aggressive with your treatment. The primary treatment options include:
- medications to lower eye pressure
- laser treatment to help fluid drain
Most people with glaucoma can maintain their vision with treatment or regular monitoring. About
Doctors stage glaucoma to help guide treatment decisions and predict its outlook. Experts have developed many staging systems for glaucoma but have yet to accept one as the gold standard.
In every glaucoma system, a higher stage represents a higher degree of vision loss or structural damage. Your eye doctor can help you determine your stage’s meaning and how to prevent vision loss best.