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Glaucoma (cont.)

When To Call a Doctor

Callor other emergency services immediately if you have:

  • Sudden, severe blurring of vision in one eye.
  • Severe pain in the affected eye.
  • Redness of the affected eye.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Colored halos surrounding light sources.

Call your doctor if you:

  • Notice blind spots in your vision.
  • Notice that over time you are having more trouble seeing.
  • Have a family history of glaucoma, are age 40 or older, and have not had an eye exam in more than a year. You may need to be examined by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist or optometrist) for signs of glaucoma.
  • Have glaucoma and have side effects from the glaucoma medicines that you are taking.

Who to see

The following doctors can diagnose glaucoma:

An ophthalmologist can treat glaucoma and perform eye surgery.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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).

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:

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.

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