You may have heard of Glaucoma, but what exactly is it and how can you screen for it? Anyone can be diagnosed with this degenerative eye disease, but there are certain groups of people who are at a higher risk. It is incredibly important to be tested for this eye disease, especially once you reach the age of 40.
Your Optometrist will use five tests to identify the signs of glaucoma and, as with all eye diseases, early detection is your best chance for a good outcome. Today we will explore glaucoma and the tests used to screen for it.
Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a term used for a group of eye disorders that can cause a number of issues such as:
- Vision loss in the peripheral view
- Eye pain
- Optic nerve damage
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Complete blindness
Some types of glaucoma may go undetected for long periods of time because symptoms are not always apparent or obvious. The best way to detect this leading cause of blindness* is with these routine eye examinations offered by your eye doctor.
5 Ways Your Optometrist Will Test for Glaucoma
There are some tests that are part of a routine eye examination that can help screen for glaucoma, and there are some that will be used if your eyevcare professional has a concern that glaucoma may be present. It is important to properly assess all parts of the eye, and your optometry team may choose to complete all five types of tests if you are at higher risk for glaucoma or if they have any concerns.
- Ophthalmoscopy. This is one of the eye exams that helps your Optometry team to look for signs of glaucoma. First, drops will be placed in the eyes to dilate the pupil, and then your doctor will use a light to properly see inside and examine the shape and colour of the optic nerve. This will give them a chance to identify signs of glaucoma directly affecting the optic nerve.
- Tonometry. During tonometry testing, a small puff of air is sent towards the eye to give an inner eye pressure reading. Once this has been completed your eye doctor can recognize higher pressure which could be a sign that glaucoma is affecting the eye.
- Perimetry. This eye examination will help your Optometrist map your field of vision, helping to identify any possible areas that may be experiencing a loss of vision. You will be asked to stare straight forward and identify a spot that is moving around your peripheral vision. This test is also used to monitor for vision changes and track progression after a glaucoma diagnosis, usually conducted twice a year.
- Gonioscopy. When screening for glaucoma, this diagnostic test will test for certain types of glaucoma that are related to the angles of where the iris meets the cornea.
- Pachymetry. A pachymeter probe is placed in front of your eye and measures the thickness of the cornea. This is an important test to be used in partnership with Tonometry as a thickened cornea will reduce the reading of the pressure within the eye. This test can also help your doctor to determine whether or not you have Glaucoma.
Calgary Glaucoma Screening Clinics
These specialized tests will help keep your eyes healthy and when used as part of a regular eye exam, your Optometrist will be able to detect any early signs of glaucoma.
The team at My Optometrist Calgary has three locations that offer glaucoma screenings and other eye exams, to protect your ocular health. We have locations in Three Hills, SE and NE Calgary for your convenience. Contact them to book an appointment by calling, or through this website form.
What are the types of glaucoma?
The different types of glaucoma are:
- Open-angle, also known as primary glaucoma as it is the most common type
- Normal Tension (NTG)
Is there a cure for glaucoma?
Glaucoma is currently an incurable eye disease. Because all vision loss is permanent and cannot be regained, it is important to have regular eye exams so your Calgary eye doctor can watch for signs of glaucoma and catch it early.
Who is at the highest risk for developing glaucoma?
Glaucoma can affect anyone, at any age, but there are certain groups who are at higher risk of developing the condition:
- Those over the age of 60
- Black, Hispanic and Asian populations
- People with family history
- Those with extreme cases of Myopia (near sighted) and Hyperopia (far sighted)
- People who have existing diseases that are linked to the development of glaucoma such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and sickle cell anemia
* Glaucoma Facts and Stats- Glaucoma Research Foundation