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Glaucoma - Exams and Tests

Early detection and treatment of glaucoma are important for controlling the condition and preventing blindness.

A doctor evaluating possible glaucoma will take a medical history and do a physical exam. If your doctor suspects glaucoma, he or she will refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).

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The eye specialist will check your eyes to help find out if you have the disease and how severe it is. He or she will look for certain signs of damage in the eye by checking things like:

  • Eye structure.Ophthalmoscopy, gonioscopy, slit lamp exam, and optic coherence tomography all check the structures of the eye.
  • Eye pressure.Tonometry measures the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP).
  • Vision tests. These include tests to check for visual acuity and loss of side and central vision (perimetry testing).
  • Cornea thickness. Tests such as ultrasound pachymetry measure the thickness of the clear front surface of the eye (cornea). Cornea thickness, along with intraocular pressure, helps determine your risk for glaucoma.

After glaucoma is diagnosed, eye exams are done on a regular basis to monitor the disease.

Your doctor may also do a low-vision evaluation to help find ways you can make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your quality of life.

Early detection

If you are younger than 40 and have no known risk factors for glaucoma, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that you have a complete eye exam every 5 to 10 years. This includes tests that check for glaucoma.2 The AAO suggests more frequent routine eye exams as you age, even if you aren't at increased risk for glaucoma.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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