How Does My Eye Doctor Test For Glaucoma?

Approximately 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, but only 1.5 million people know they have the condition. This can be dangerous because glaucoma accounts for 9% to 12% of all blindness cases in the United States.

Blindness occurs when glaucoma, a group of diseases, damages the optic nerve in the eye. Although the vision loss caused by glaucoma can’t be reversed, it can be prevented through early detection.

How can glaucoma be detected?

Regular appointments with an eye doctor are essential for detecting glaucoma and preventing optic nerve damage. Your eye doctor can detect glaucoma through a series of comprehensive dilated eye exams. These exams include:

    • Visual field test. One of the most common symptoms of glaucoma is the loss of peripheral vision. The visual field test helps your eye doctor measure your peripheral vision to determine if you’ve lost any of your ability to see from the side.
    • Dilated eye exam. During this exam, your eyes are dilated as they would be during most eye appointments. The doctor then uses a special magnifying lens to examine your optic nerve and retina for any signs of damage.
    • Visual acuity test. This test determines how well you can see at various distances using an eye chart.
    • Pachymetry. This test is used to measure the thickness of your eye’s cornea. Your eye doctor will apply numbing eye drops to your eye. Your doctor will then measure your cornea using an instrument that applies ultrasonic waves.
    • Tonometry. This test is used to measure the pressure inside of your eye. Glaucoma can cause pressure to damage the optic nerve. Your eye doctor will apply numbing eye drops to your eye. An instrument called a tonometer is then used to detect and measure the pressure inside the eye.

What happens if my tests come back positive for glaucoma?

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, there are different glaucoma treatment options available to you to delay the progression of the disease. The most common glaucoma treatment options include medicines and types of eye surgery including conventional surgery and laser trabeculoplasty.

Glaucoma isn’t often accompanied by symptoms, which is why it’s so important to receive regular eye exams. To learn more about glaucoma and glaucoma treatment options available to you, contact you doctor today.

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