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Understanding Glaucoma Tests: A Complete Guide

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Written by- Gina Walters
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Early detection is important to prevent vision problems and loss when it comes to eye health. 

Glaucoma is a set of eye diseases caused by high Intraocular Pressure (IOP) that may damage the optic nerve.

Regular Glaucoma tests may help a person to detect the condition in its early stages. 

Let us explore Glaucoma tests, their types, and what to expect during an examination.

What is a Glaucoma test

A Glaucoma test is one of the most important eye checkup exams that may help eye doctors examine one’s eye health and detect Glaucoma. 

Glaucoma is a set eye disease that may cause vision problems and blindness by damaging the optic nerve.

The doctors may perform many eye tests to diagnose a person with Glaucoma.

However, the main objective of a Glaucoma test is to measure Intraocular Pressure (IOP).

High IOP is one of the major Glaucoma causes and may contribute to optic nerve damage. 

Regular Glaucoma tests are important as most Glaucoma cases can develop slowly without any noticeable symptoms.

Therefore, it is important to detect Glaucoma early, as it helps in treating the condition efficiently.

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Types of Glaucoma eye test

eye-test
Woman doing eye test

An ophthalmologist (eye doctor) may suggest a single or a group of tests to detect and help prevent Glaucoma

The tests allow the doctor to check one’s eyes, estimate vision loss, and choose proper treatments. 

The common Glaucoma eye tests include Tonometry, Pachymetry, Perimetry, Ophthalmoscopy, and Gonioscopy. Let us explore these tests in detail. 

Suggestion:
Stay calm during the tests, as they all are quick, harmless, and painless. 

Tonometry: Eye pressure test

High eye fluid pressure (IOP) is one of the main causes of Glaucoma in people.

For Tonometry, the doctor will put numbing eye drops in your eyes.

After that, the doctor will use a tonometer (small tool) to check the inner eye fluid pressure. The normal eye pressure is 10-20 mm Hg.

The test is quick and painless. However, one must remain calm during the test. 

Pachymetry: Cornea thickness test

Pachymetry is a simple test that helps measure the thickness of one’s cornea. 

The doctor uses a small probe (surgical instrument) to measure the thickness of the cornea after numbing the eyes with eye drops.

This test is important because a thin cornea may show low eye pressure readings, but a thick cornea may show higher readings than actual.

Also, a study states that having a thin cornea can be a risk factor for Glaucoma. 

Perimetry: Visual field test

One of the main Glaucoma symptoms is the slow loss of vision in one’s peripheral (side) eye area.

Perimetry is a visual field test that measures one’s peripheral vision.

During this test, the doctor will ask you to focus on a central point and observe when you see objects in your peripheral vision. 

The test may help detect Glaucoma and show how severe the condition is. 

Ophthalmoscopy: Dilated eye test

An Ophthalmoscopy test is used to check one’s optic nerve health.

During the test, the doctor will first use eye drops to open one’s pupil.

After that, they will use a bright light to check the color, size, shape, and blood vessels in your retina and optic nerve.

The doctor may also suggest other Glaucoma tests if there is any problem with the optic nerve. 

Gonioscopy: Eye angle test

Eye checkup of Glaucoma patientSource: Yuganov_Konstantin
Eye checkup of Glaucoma patient

The test is used to check one’s eye drainage system, the angle where one’s cornea meets the iris.

The doctor will use eye-numbing drops and a special lens to touch one’s cornea. 

The lens will help the doctor to check if the drainage angle is open or closed. 

The test may help detect Glaucoma if the angle is too wide (sign of Open Angle Glaucoma) or too narrow(sign of Closed Angle Glaucoma).

Warning:
Do not drive or walk on roads after the test, as the eye-numbing drops used during Glaucoma tests can cause temporary blurry vision. 

Glaucoma test results

Checking and understanding your Glaucoma test results is important for maintaining good eye health. 

Glaucoma test results provide information about one’s eye health and help your doctor in proper diagnosis and treatment.

The doctor can check various factors through Glaucoma testing like one’s IOP, optic nerve health, and more. 

A person with high IOP has more risk of developing Glaucoma. 

Also, checking factors like optic nerve health and vision field is important as they are related to common Glaucoma symptoms.

Your eye doctor will explain the eye results and concerns to you in detail.

Always follow your doctor’s advice and go for regular eye checkups. 

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Key takeaways

Glaucoma tests help in detecting Glaucoma, checking eye health, estimating vision loss, and choosing proper treatments. 

The common Glaucoma eye tests include Tonometry, Pachymetry, Perimetry, Ophthalmoscopy, and Gonioscopy.

The above tests help measure eye pressure, vision field, optic nerve health, and more. 

Also, understanding the Glaucoma test results is important for proper diagnosis and treatment.

One should get regular eye tests as Glaucoma can develop slowly without noticeable symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive after a Glaucoma test?

No, one should not drive after a Glaucoma test. The doctors may use numbing eye drops during the test, which may cause temporary blurry vision. Always wait till your vision is clear or take a family member to the test to safely drive back.

How long does a Glaucoma test take?

A normal Glaucoma test normally takes 5 to 10 minutes per eye. This includes procedures like Tonometry, Ophthalmoscopy, and visual field testing. However, the test duration may differ depending on the number of tests and the patient’s needs.

What is the cost of a Glaucoma test?

The cost of a Glaucoma test can vary according to one’s location, type of test, and medical insurance. The test can range from $80 to $200 without insurance. However, having medical insurance can reduce one’s costs.

How often should you get Glaucoma tests?

The frequency of Glaucoma tests depends on one’s age, risk factors, and previous diagnoses. Individuals over 40 should get eye exams every 1-3 years. On the other hand, people over 65 should have annual eye tests.

How can I test for Glaucoma at home?

One may test for Glaucoma at home using self-eye pressure monitoring devices, visual field checking apps, or observing common Glaucoma symptoms. However, one should not rely on home testing for Glaucoma. Always consult a doctor and get proper medical Glaucoma tests.

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