What sort of tests are involved in diagnosing glaucoma?
We measure eye pressure, visual field and take images of the optic nerve. These three things help diagnose glaucoma.
Why do patients keep repeating these tests and how often should they be done?
Repetition is key.
Repetition is good to make sure that the results are consistent. As for how often, it would depend on how severe it is. If there is concern about a potential glaucoma diagnosis, then every 6 months we repeat the tests – and 12 months if it’s not as suspicious.
What is the difference between the glaucoma field test and the driving visual field test?
The glaucoma field test looks at one eye at a time, as glaucoma usually begins as a unilateral disease. The binocular driving visual field test assesses both eyes at the same time as you drive with both eyes open.
My vision is always the same and my glasses script has not changed – does that mean my glaucoma is stable?
Not necessarily. Glaucoma tends to affect your side vision first. The part of your vision that glasses correct is generally your central vision, which involves the macula rather than the optic nerve.
Your glasses could still be working great and that might not prompt you to go back to your optometrist. However, that doesn’t mean the glaucoma is stable.
We still need to do extra tests every time just to make sure it’s not getting worse
How do the different methods of eye pressure tests differ? Which is the best one for glaucoma?
Often a start with measures that do not need any drops as this makes it easier for many patients. If we suspect things like abnormally higher eye pressures, we measure the corneal thickness and other pressure measuring devices, called applanation tonometry for the most accurate monitoring.
Do optometrists routinely check the angles of the eyes?
Yes, the most common method is using the microscope with the light on it called the slit lamp.
Can glaucoma tests detect macular degeneration?
The OCT machine, which scans through the optic nerve to check for glaucoma, can also detect macular degeneration because when we take the photo it looks at the middle part of the eye (macula) as well.