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Exams and Tests
A doctor evaluating possible glaucoma will take a medical history and do a physical exam. If glaucoma is suspected, you will usually be referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) for further testing and treatment.
Early detection and treatment of open-angle glaucoma (OAG) are important for controlling the condition and preventing blindness. Emergency treatment may be needed for sudden (acute) closed-angle glaucoma (CAG).
The ophthalmologist will look for signs of damage caused by glaucoma in the back of the eyes to help determine whether the disease is present and to determine its severity. Your medical history and the results of the following tests help determine the severity of glaucoma:
After glaucoma is diagnosed, eye exams (including tonometry and ophthalmoscopy) are done on a regular basis to monitor the disease. Perimetry testing is usually done once a year after open-angle glaucoma is diagnosed.
If you have glaucoma and have already experienced a significant loss of vision, your doctor may also perform a low-vision evaluation to help find ways you can make the most of your remaining vision and maintain your quality of life.
Because people with glaucoma may have normal pressures in their eyes, measuring eye pressure (tonometry) should not be used as the sole screening test for glaucoma. It should be combined with other tests before glaucoma can be diagnosed.
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.7 The AAO suggests more frequent routine eye exams as you age.
The AAO also suggests that people who are at risk for glaucoma have complete eye exams according to the schedule below:
People at increased risk for glaucoma include those who:8
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