It’s very important to check your eyes regularly for eye related problems, including glaucoma. Many people don’t realize they actually have glaucoma because this disease usually damages the outer edge of their eye, while working slowly inwards. Most people only realize they have a problem when the disease has spread very near to the center of their eye. Which is why it’s essential to have an eye test for glaucoma and treat it as early as possible
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of debilitating eye diseases which damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the main nerve in your eye and is responsible for carrying information, as seen through the eye, to the brain. As the disease spreads, your vision worsens. While it’s possible for anyone to develop glaucoma, it’s more common for people over the age of 40.
Children and babies can get the disease as well, but the signs and symptoms are completely different from that of an adult.
What are the available eye tests to detect glaucoma?
There are many glaucoma tests available out there and they can only be carried out by a optometrist. The tests are usually painless and should be over very quickly. For best results it’s better to carry out all the tests during the same appointment.
The available eye tests include, tonometry, gonioscopy, ophthalmoscopy and perimetry.
1. Tonometry- Tonometry is an eye pressure test. It uses a tonometer – an instrument, to measure and check the consistency of pressure inside your eye. Before beginning the process, some anaesthesia is applied. Then the tonometer, which will emit a blue light, will be held against the eye to check for any inconsistencies.
2. Gonioscopy- This important exam determines if the angle between the cornea and the iris is opened or closed, in other words, blocked. During the exam, eye drops are administered to numb the eye. Then the gonioscopy lens is placed on the eye. This special lens will show your optometrist if the area between the iris and cornea is blocked in any way.
3. Ophthalmoscopy- This procedure helps to examine the optic nerve (main nerve) for any glaucoma damage. During this process, eye drops are administered to dilate the pupil. Then your optometrist will examine the shape and color of the optic nerve by looking through your eye.
4. Perimetry- also known as a “visual field test”, checks the eye for vision loss. During the test, your optometrist will instruct you to look at a sequence of lights and will ask which ones you can see. During the process, some dots will appear in your peripheral vision.
If you can’t see the dots at all, it might mean glaucoma has damaged your vision.
Is it necessary to have so many tests?
Glaucoma is not the easiest disease to detect. Which is why your optometrist will look at many factors before diagnosing you with it. The most important thing you could possible do is not be put off with the various eye tests and be sure to have your eyes checked several times a year.