PGCFA Knowledgebase
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Glossary

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  • occipital lobes
    The parts of the brain that are responsible for perceiving vision and interpreting visual input from the eyes
  • occlusion amblyopia
    A rare form of amblyopia caused by patching treatment.  If a patient has amblyopia in one eye, the ophthalmologist might prescribe patching of the other, stronger eye.  Rarely, the patching can weaken the vision in the patched eye.
  • ophhalmologist
     A physician who graduated medical school and performed a minimum of four years of residency who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of the eye and vision disorders.
  • optic cup
    The canal in the center of the optic nerve, through which the blood vessels that feed the retina enter the eye.  An excessively large cup can be a sign of damage from glaucoma.  Also referred to as the cup of the optic nerve or optic nerve cup. 
  • optical coherence tomography
    A form of ultrasound that gives highly detailed pictures of the optic nerve and retina.  It can be used to measure the health of the optic nerve in patients who have glaucoma.  Sometimes abbreviated to OCT. 
  • optician
    A professional who specializes in making and fitting glasses. 
  • optometrist
    A non-physician health care professional who specializes in the prescription of glasses and contact lenses and provides primary eye care.  Optometrists attend optometry school, not medical school, after college.  They do not perform eye surgery.  Some optometrists specialize in care for patients with low vision. 
  • Pediatric Glaucoma and Cataract Family Association
    A support organization run by families for families that provides information, resources, education, and support to parents of children with cataract and/or glaucoma (http://www.pgcfa.org).  Commonly referred to by the acronym PGCFA. 
     
  • Pediatric Glaucoma Family Association
    Predecessor to the Pediatric Glaucoma and Cataract Family Association (PGCFA).  Commonly referred to by the acronym PGFA. 
  • PGCFA
    See Pediatric Glaucoma and Cataract Family Association.
  • photophobia
    Sensitivity to light.  An individual with photophobia may experience pain and squeeze his/her eyelids shut to avoid the light. 
  • phthisis
    An eye that has stopped functioning, lost eye pressure, and shrunken. 
  • posterior capsule
    The membrane on the back surface of the natural lens of the eye.  The posterior capsule is sometimes left behind after a cataract is removed and may later become cloudy, requiring use of a laser to create a hole in the capsule through which the vision is clear.
  • posterior embryotoxon
     A white line on the peripheral edge of the inner surface of the cornea that can be seen during an examination with a slit lamp.  Posterior embryotoxon does not affect vision but is a sign of a malformed drainage system of the eye.  This phenomenon was once called Axenfeld anomaly but is now recognized as occurring in almost all forms of Axenfeld-Rieger spectrum.  Posterior embryotoxon can occur in patients with no other eye abnormalities, people who do not have glaucoma, or individuals who have certain syndromes that are not normally eye-related, such as Alagille syndrome with liver disease.  Strands of iris are sometimes attached to the posterior embryotoxon.
  • posterior uveitis
    Inflammation of the retina, vitreous, optic nerve, and/or choroid. 
  • preferential looking test
    A method of testing vision in patients who are non-verbal due to either age or developmental delay.  A card is presented to the patient and the child is observed to see whether he/she is more attentive to a series of vertical or horizontal bars on one side of the card compared with a blank area of the same size on the other side of the card. 
  • primary open angle glaucoma
    Increased pressure inside the eye that occurs after the age of 40 years old in an eye that has no other diseases and is not otherwise predisposed to develop glaucoma for any reason.
  • progressive
    A type of bifocal eyeglass lens in which the lens power gets increasingly stronger towards the bottom instead of having an abrupt line where the power suddenly becomes stronger.  Progressive lenses are also sometimes called invisible bifocals. 
  • prosthetic
    An artificial device that substitutes for a missing or defective part of the body. 
  • pseudophakic accommodation
    The ability of an eye with an intraocular lens implant to change its focusing ability, even without the natural lens that usually performs this task. 
  • pupil
    The hole in the center of the iris through which light enters the eye. 
  • red reflex
    The red reflection of light from the inside of the eye that is seen by the ophthalmologist when shining either an ophthalmoscope or a retinoscope at the eye. This is the same effect seen in photographs where the pupil appears red. 
  • retina
    The wallpaper-like structure that lines the inside of the back of the eye and senses light.  The retina is like film in a camera, converting an image that is seen into a message for the brain to read. 
     
  • Rieger anomaly
    Axenfeld anomaly with iris and pupil abnormalities.  This term is no longer commonly used, as it is now recognized to be part of Axenfeld-Rieger spectrum. 
  • Rieger syndrome
    Rieger anomaly with glaucoma and systemic manifestations.  This term is no longer commonly used, as it is now recognized to be part of Axenfeld-Rieger spectrum
  • Schlemm's canal
    A circular channel in the sclera surrounding the cornea that drains aqueous humor from the eye. 
  • sclera
    The white part of the eye. 
  • sclerostomy
    A small hole made in the sclera to allow excess aqueous humor to escape from the eye.  This is a critical step in trabeculectomy surgery. 
  • seton
    A tube that is put in the eye surgically to treat glaucoma by providing an alternate drainage pathway for the aqueous humor.  Also referred to as a glaucoma drainage tube, glaucoma tube, glaucoma valve, tube, or tube shunt. 
  • steroid
    A medicine that has the ability to reduce inflammation.  Steroids may be administered as eyedrops, eye ointment, orally, or by injection

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