Tests Used During Glaucoma Screening Eye Exams

Tests Used During Glaucoma Screening Eye Exams

Glaucoma is a collection of eye conditions that can lead to damage of the optic nerve. Glaucoma begins to develop without presenting any symptoms, and once symptoms do begin to show, glaucoma has already developed to the point where vision will be permanently affected. In order to detect glaucoma before it begins affecting your vision, you need regular glaucoma screening eye exams to assess your eye pressure and optic nerve health. At a glaucoma screening eye exam, your optometrist will administer 6 tests that will examine different areas of the eye, check your symptoms, and monitor glaucoma progression.

What Eye Exams Assess During Glaucoma Screening

  1. Pressure
    Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve most commonly due to increased pressure within the eye that puts strain on the optic nerve. To measure the pressure in your eye and determine if glaucoma is developing, your optometrist will conduct a test called a tonometry test. During this portion of the eye exam, your optometrist will administer a numbing eye drop and a small instrument will touch your eye to measure pressure. This is not painful, but you will need to stay relaxed and continue taking steady breaths to ensure the eye pressure readings are accurate.
     
  2. Corneal Thickness
    Your cornea thickness can influence the readings of pressure tests, so the thickness of the cornea needs to be taken into account to create an accurate reading of the pressure within your eye. A thick cornea can create artificially high-pressure readings whereas a thin cornea can create artificially low-pressure readings. People who have thin corneas are also at a slightly higher risk of developing glaucoma. The test used to measure cornea thickness is called a pachymetry test.
     
  3. Angle Of The Cornea And The Iris
    During a gonioscopy, your optometrist will use an instrument to lightly touch your numbed cornea to see where the cornea meets the iris. This will help your optometrist see the trabecular meshwork where most fluids in your eyes exit. The status of this meshwork is what determines if glaucoma is considered “open-angle glaucoma” or “angle-closure glaucoma” depending on whether the trabecular meshwork is open or blocked.
     
  4. Field Of Vision
    A visual field test is a functional test that informs you and the optometrist if you have lost any vision due to glaucoma. Your optometrist will perform this test at each of your glaucoma screening eye exams, as it is crucial for the tracking of the progression of glaucoma and how the condition is affecting your vision.
     
  5. Glaucoma Imaging
    During this portion of the eye exam, your pupils will be dilated. Photos will be taken of your optic nerve so that your optometrist can see any damage occurring. This critical test will be administered every time you come for a glaucoma screening eye exam, as it offers a reliable way to document your glaucoma progression.
     
  6. Dilated Eye Exam
    While your pupils are dilated, your optometrist will also examine your inner eye. This will include a detailed eye exam of the optic nerve where the optometrist assesses the shape, colour, depth, size, and vessels of the optic nerve, but your optometrist will look at other areas as well. They will examine your central and peripheral retina to ensure this area is not damaged.
     

Glaucoma Screening Eye Exams In Calgary

Prevent glaucoma from progressing before it can affect your vision. If glaucoma is detected early, you may be able to preserve your vision for years, but if you do not go for regular glaucoma screening eye exams, this condition can develop without your knowledge. At Sunridge Eye Clinic in NE Calgary, our optometrists will screen for glaucoma during every standard eye exam and will administer more intensive testing if you are suspected to have glaucoma. Our optometrists will work with you to develop a glaucoma management plan so that we can keep your vision for years to come. To schedule a glaucoma screening eye exam, contact Sunridge Eye Clinic at 1-403-280-7518 or fill out the online contact form.

 

FAQ

Q: Can glaucoma be prevented?
A: While everyone’s genetic predisposition for glaucoma is different, there are some ways you can help prevent glaucoma later in life by caring for your body and eyes now. Eating well, exercising, protecting your eyes from injuries, and receiving regular eye exams are all ways to help prevent or slow the development of glaucoma. Read World Glaucoma Week: Can Glaucoma Be Prevented? to learn more.

Q: Who should receive glaucoma screening eye exams?
A: At our Calgary eye clinic, our optometrists advise that you have an eye exam at least every two years and our optometrists will automatically look for signs of glaucoma during these eye exams. However, if you are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma, you may be advised to come in more frequently.
Patients who are advised to have more frequent glaucoma tests are those who: 

  • Are over the age of 60 
  • Smoke
  • Have health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes 
  • Have a family history of glaucoma 
  • Have experienced an eye injury 
  • Have high internal eye pressure

It is very important to have regular eye exams so that conditions such as glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Early treatment can help stop your vision from becoming severely affected.

Q: Is there a cure for glaucoma?
A: There is not. Once you have lost some or all of your vision to glaucoma, it cannot be restored. This is why taking preventative measures such as receiving regular eye exams is so vital to keeping your vision.


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