How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Individuals at high risk for glaucoma should have a dilated-pupil eye examination at least every two years. Eye doctors use several tests to detect glaucoma:

Tonometry measures the pressure inside the eye. Examples of tonometers include:

  • The air-puff (noncontact) tonometer, which emits a puff of air. Eye pressure is measured by the eye's resistance to the air.
  • The applanation tonometer, which touches the eye's surface after the eye has been numbed and measures the amount of pressure necessary to flatten the cornea. This is the most sensitive tonometer, but a clear, regularly-shaped cornea is needed for it to function properly.
  • The electronic indentation method, which measures pressure by directly contacting anesthetized eyes with a digital pen-like instrument.

In pupil dilation, special drops temporarily enlarge the pupil so the doctor can better view the inside of the eye. Various instruments allow the doctor to determine the thickness of the cornea, to view the front and/or the interior of the eye, and to monitor optic nerve changes over time.

Visual field testing measures the entire area seen by the forward-looking eye to document straight-ahead (central) and/or side (peripheral) vision.

A visual acuity test uses an eye chart to measure sight at various distances.

Disease:
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Diagnosis

The information provided in this section is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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