Diagnosing Glaucoma

DIAGNOSING GLAUCOMA

Scheduling a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year with an eye care professional is crucial in finding out whether you have glaucoma, since people who are diagnosed with the disease often do not experience glaucoma symptoms, or are even aware they have the condition.

If you have high risk factors for glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of glaucoma, you should see an eye doctor now to determine how often to have eye exams.

A glaucoma exam provides important information to you and your eye care professional regarding the health of your eyes. It is often part of a routine eye exam and is painless. During the exam, your eye care professional may run a series of tests:

VISUAL FIELD TEST Determines if there is any glaucoma damage, such as vision loss or blind spots in your field of vision.

OPTIC NERVE SCAN Allows your eye care professional to see if your optic nerve appears healthy or damaged.

EYE PRESSURE MEASURING Measures eye pressure.

CORNEAL THICKNESS MEASURING Quickly, painlessly measures the thickness of your cornea (the clear front “window” of your eye).

GONIOSCOPY OR ULTRASOUND BIOMICROSCOPY Enables your eye care professional to see the angle of the structure inside the eye where fluid outflow begins which can affect your eye pressure.

FACTS ABOUT GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated. And unfortunately approximately 10% of people with glaucoma who receive proper treatment still experience loss of vision.

Glaucoma is not curable, and vision lost cannot be regained. With medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss of vision. Since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it must be monitored for life. Diagnosis is the first step to preserving your vision.

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma from babies to senior citizens. Older people are at a higher risk for glaucoma but babies can be born with glaucoma (approximately 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States). Young adults can get glaucoma, too. African Americans in particular are susceptible at a younger age.

With open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, there are virtually no symptoms. Usually, no pain is associated with increased eye pressure. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision. You may compensate for this unconsciously by turning your head to the side, and may not notice anything until significant vision is lost. The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get tested. If you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.

Glaucoma Research Foundation. Glaucoma Facts and Stats. Updated October 29, 2017.
https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/glaucoma-facts-and-stats.php  Accessed October 8, 2020.