What Are the Most Common Types of Glaucoma Tests?

Protecting your vision from glaucoma damage starts with a regular or complete eye exam so it can be caught early. If you haven’t had a routine eye exam for a while, it is time to have one because glaucoma doesn’t make itself evident until it is too late.

When Your Eyes Should Be Tested

An annual eye exam is ideal. However, your eyes should be tested for glaucoma based on the following schedule:

  • Every two to four years before reaching the age of 40.
  • From the ages of 40 to 54, your eyes should be tested every one to three years.
  • Between the ages of 55 and 64, your eyes should be tested every one to two years.
  • Over 65 years of age, your eyes should be tested every 6 to 12 months.
  • Those that are high risk should be tested every one to two years starting at the age of 35.

While glaucoma is commonly associated with individuals more advanced in age, it can occur in younger people, which is why testing starts at an early age. This testing usually comes in the form of an inner eye pressure test.

Types of Testing

A comprehensive glaucoma exam involves checking inner eye pressure (tonometry), performing a dilated eye exam to check the optic nerve’s shape and color (ophthalmoscopy), a complete field of vision check (perimetry), a check of the angle of the eye where the cornea and iris meet (gonioscopy), and corneal thickness (pachymetry).

Here is a breakdown of each of these glaucoma tests:

  • Tonometry involves using a tonometer to apply slight pressure to the eye with a puff of warm air. If the pressure exceeds 20mm Hg, then there is a chance glaucoma is present.
  • Ophthalmoscopy involves the use of eye drops to dilate the pupil so the doctor can see into the eye and see the color and shape of the optic nerve.
  • Perimetry maps out a patient’s complete field of vision by using a light that passes the peripheral vision while looking straight ahead. Indicating when the light passes side vision helps map out the field of vision.
  • Gonioscopy also uses eye drops to check the angle where the cornea and iris meet. The eye is numbed and a handheld contact lens that contains a mirror is gently placed on the eye. This shows the doctor if the angle is open or closed. If it’s closed, it indicates glaucoma.
  • Pachymetry is painless as the doctor measures cornea thickness. A pachymeter is placed on the cornea to take the measurement.

You may be perplexed as to why there are so many tests, but patients in Scottsdale, Glendale, all throughout Arizona, and across the country can show different results on different tests and have the same diagnosis. Many times, the result that shows depends on the person. Plus, all of the tests help make sure that a person adequately protects his or her eyesight by enabling doctors to look at many factors so that the right diagnosis can be made.

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