Glaucoma is a common eye condition characterized by a buildup of fluid in the eye. When the passages in the eye that drain excess fluid become clogged, the pressure from the fluid can damage the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma can eventually lead to complete vision loss. In fact, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.
What is a glaucoma test?
Increased pressure in the eye can be a sign of glaucoma, therefore one of the first and most important screening tests used to diagnose glaucoma is an intraocular eye pressure test, or tonometry.
Tonometry determines the amount of fluid pressure in the eye by measuring the tone and firmness of the surface of the eye. The test is conducted with an applanation tonometer or an air puff tonometer. The tonometer calculates intraocular pressure by measuring the eye's resistance to pressure or a puff of air. Patients with high intraocular pressure may be at risk for glaucoma and will be subjected to further testing, including a test for optic nerve damage.
Reasons for administering glaucoma tests
There is no cure for glaucoma, therefore early detection is critical. Glaucoma does not present any visible symptoms until vision loss has already started to occur. That means the only way to preserve vision is to undergo regular glaucoma screening tests. There are a variety of tests that can be used to help diagnose glaucoma including intraocular eye pressure, peripheral vision test, and evaluation of the optic nerve.
A glaucoma test is part of your regularly scheduled eye examinations.