What is a Glaucoma Exam?
Life is beautiful, and healthy eyesight is essential for most in their appreciation and enjoyment of that beauty. While eye problems can occur at any age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain regular checkups to ensure your eyes are healthy and your vision is in good condition.
Of the issues that can cause significant vision problems and even vision loss, glaucoma is one of the most common. As such, it is vital to work with your eye doctor to schedule visits at regular intervals and keep watch for the warning signs of glaucoma.
Thankfully, there are numerous methods of testing for glaucoma that can catch the early warning signs and keep the disease in check. Read on to learn more about glaucoma and how doctors test for the eye disease.
What is Glaucoma?
Rather than referring to a single eye disease, glaucoma is a term that covers a group of conditions. Each of the diseases under the umbrella of glaucoma damage the optic nerve, which is the pathway that carries what your retinas see to the brain. In other words, this nerve bundle is integral to sight.
When performing a glaucoma test, it is likely that your eye doctor will actually execute several individual tests that are part of a comprehensive exam. These tests address the various warning signs that could indicate glaucoma is present. It is especially important to undergo glaucoma testing with regularity if you have risk factors, including a family history of the eye condition.
Cornea Thickness Test
Thin corneas can indicate an increased risk of glaucoma, which is one of the reasons your doctor may choose to use measure the thickness of your corneas. The other reason relates to another test that may be done to check for glaucoma—measuring the inner pressure of your eyes. Cornea thickness can influence the readings of this test.
After numbing your eye to provide a pain-free experience, the doctor will use a small instrument to measure the thickness of both corneas, giving them a clear picture of your risk and the potential effect on the eye pressure check they may perform during your glaucoma test.
Dilated Eye Exam
In order to get a 3D picture of your optic nerve, the eye doctor will likely perform a dilated eye exam. This involves dilating your eyes and using the view achieved by this process to assess the color, depth, shape, and size of the optic nerve. This is essential to determining the health of the nerve bundle.
Eye Pressure Check
One of the primary risk factors of glaucoma is increased internal eye pressure. As such, checking the pressure within the eye and determining whether or not it is within the realm of normal is of the utmost importance.
To do this, the doctor will numb your eye using an eye drop, then gently touch an instrument to your eye. This instrument will measure the internal pressure of the eye. The test is quick and painless, so stay relaxed.
Visual Field Test
If you have glaucoma, a visual field test can provide insight into the progression of the disease and how to treat it. This test, like the other tests mentioned here, is painless. However, there is a learning curve to this test, so you may have to repeat it to ensure the results are as accurate as possible. Don’t worry, though; your doctor will give you clear instructions on how to complete the test.
There are several other tests that may be performed when checking your eye health and looking for glaucoma. These tests include using a lens to see the area where the cornea and iris meet and glaucoma imaging tests, which involve taking photographs of your optic nerve.
No matter what methods your doctor uses when testing for glaucoma, feel free to ask questions about the tests themselves, why they are being performed, and what the results mean. Your doctor will be more than happy to walk you through the process and alleviate any anxiety you may have. Once the tests are complete, you can work together to schedule future visits and discuss any necessary treatments.