How Eye Doctors Test for Glaucoma

There are many different eye conditions that can cause us problems. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which is the main pathway between the eyes and the brain. The optic nerve also carries a vital supply of blood and nutrients to the eye to keep it healthy. Glaucoma occurs when there is too much pressure inside the eyes and this places pressure onto the optic nerve, damaging it and causing vision loss. Any vision loss as a result of glaucoma is permanent.


There is a range of different tests that your eye doctor may use to check whether or not you are affected by glaucoma. Ready to find out more?

Eye Pressure Check

An eye pressure that is higher than normal is one of the key indicators of glaucoma, so it makes sense that one of the first checks your eye doctor will carry out is an evaluation of your intraocular pressure. This test is called tonometry, and the most common method of doing this is using a very small instrument that contacts the surface of the eye. The test is painless, since you’ll be given eye drops to numb them first, and it takes just a few seconds to perform.

Visual Field Test

Loss of peripheral vision is considered to be another primary symptom of glaucoma. Peripheral vision refers to the very edges of your vision – what you can notice out of the corners of your eyes when looking straight ahead, such as detecting movement. Peripheral vision is one of the first aspects of eyesight that is compromised by glaucoma and a functional visual field test will enable your eye doctor to determine if you have been affected and if so, how significantly. Again, visual field testing isn’t painful and only takes a couple of minutes for each eye.

Dilated Eye Exam

A dilated eye exam forms part of many comprehensive eye tests so maybe something that you are already used to. As its name suggests, it involves special eyedrops being used to dilate your pupils so that they are much larger. This will enable your eye doctor to see through them and obtain magnified, 3D views of your optic nerve so that can check for any abnormalities.

Corneal Thickness Exam

You may be surprised to learn that the thickness of your cornea can make a difference to the amount of pressure that’s inside your eyes. A thin cornea can result in low eye pressure, while the thicker it is, the higher your intraocular pressure may be. Corneal thickness is measured with a test called pachymetry and involves the eyes being numbed so that a small probe can be used to obtain the measurement.

Angle Test

There are several types of glaucoma. The most common is known as open-angle glaucoma, accounting for about 90% of cases. Narrow/closed-angle glaucoma is quite rare but develops much more quickly than open glaucoma and needs to be treated extremely quickly to prevent any further vision loss. Angle testing, also known as gonioscopy, is a simple procedure that enables your eye doctor to see the angle of your glaucoma. Again, your eyes will need to be numbed so that the gonioscopy lens can be touched gently to the cornea.



For more information about glaucoma and how it is diagnosed, visit Okaloosa Eye Care in Crestview, FL. Call (850) 608-0003 to schedule an appointment today.