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General Practice 2023

5 essential tests to identify glaucoma

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5 essential tests to identify glaucoma
5 essential tests to identify glaucoma

The only way to confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma is to go to the ophthalmologist to perform tests that can identify if the pressure inside the eye is high, which is what characterizes the disease.

Normally, glaucoma tests are done when there are signs of suspected glaucoma such as changes in a routine eye exam, but they can also be ordered as a form of prevention in people who are at greater risk of developing glaucoma, especially when there is family history of the disease.

See possible symptoms of glaucoma and who is at greatest risk.

The main tests that the ophthalmologist may order to confirm the diagnosis of glaucoma include:

1. Tonometry (eye pressure)

The eye pressure test, also known as tonometry, measures the pressure inside the eye which, in cases of glaucoma, is normally greater than 22 mmHg.

How it's done: the ophthalmologist applies eye drops to anesthetize the eye and then uses a device, called a tonometer, to apply light pressure to the eye to assess the pressure inside the eye.

2. Ophthalmoscopy (optic nerve)

The exam to evaluate the optic nerve, scientifically called ophthalmoscopy, is a test that examines the shape and color of the optic nerve to identify whether there are lesions that may have been caused by glaucoma.

How it is done: the doctor applies eye drops to dilate the pupil of the eye and then uses a small flashlight to illuminate the eye and observe the optic nerve, evaluating if there are any changes on the nerve.

3. Perimetry (visual field)

The examination to evaluate the visual field, also called perimetry, helps the ophthalmologist to identify if there is loss of the field of vision caused by glaucoma, especially in the lateral view.

How it is done: In the case of the Confrontation Field, the ophthalmologist asks the patient to look straight ahead without moving his eyes and then passes a flashlight from one side to the other in front of the eyes, and the patient must warn whenever he/she stops seeing the light. The most used, however, is Automated Perimetry. See more details about the Campimetry exam.

4. Gonioscopy (type of glaucoma)

The exam used to assess the type of glaucoma is gonioscopy, which determines the angle between the iris and the cornea, and when it is open it can be a sign of chronic open-angle glaucoma and when it is narrow it can be a sign of angle-closure glaucoma, whether chronic or acute.

How it is done: the doctor applies an anesthetic eye drops to the eye and then places a lens over the eye that contains a small mirror that allows observing the angle that forms between the iris and cornea.

5. Pachymetry (corneal thickness)

The exam to assess the thickness of the cornea, also known as pachymetry, helps the doctor to see if the intraocular pressure reading, provided by tonometry, is correct or if it is affected by a very thick cornea, for example.

How it's done: the ophthalmologist places a small device in front of each eye that measures the thickness of the cornea.

Watch the following video and understand better what glaucoma is and what treatment options are available:

Other exams needed

In addition to the tests indicated above, the ophthalmologist may also order other imaging tests to better assess the ocular structures.Some of these exams include: Color Retinography, Aneritra Retinography, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), GDx vcc and HRT, for example.

If your glaucoma test indicates that you have glaucoma, here's how to treat glaucoma.

Online Glaucoma Risk Test

This test is to guide your risk of developing glaucoma, based on your family history and other risk factors:

Find out your risk of developing glaucoma

Illustrative image of the questionnaire
  • I don't have any family members with glaucoma.
  • My son has glaucoma.
  • At least one of my grandparents, father or mother has glaucoma.
  • White, of European descent.
  • Indigenous.
  • Oriental.
  • Mixed, typically Brazilian.
  • Black.
  • Less than 40 years old.
  • Between 40 and 49 years.
  • Between 50 and 59 years old.
  • 60 years and over.
  • Less than 21 mmHg.
  • Between 21 and 25 mmHg.
  • More than 25 mmHg.
  • I don't know the value or I've never had an eye pressure test.
  • I am he althy and do not have any illnesses.
  • I have a disease but I don't take corticosteroids.
  • I have diabetes or myopia.
  • I regularly use corticosteroids.
  • I have some eye disease.

However, this test does not replace the doctor's diagnosis, and it is always recommended to consult an ophthalmologist if there is a suspicion of having glaucoma.

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