Our eye doctors want you to know why regular eye exams are important for diagnosing glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in America, and nearly anyone can develop this eye disease with age. There is no cure for glaucoma, but if it is caught early, it can be managed through eye drops, medications and laser eye surgery.
You should be tested for glaucoma once you turn 40 and every one to two years after, especially if you have a family history of glaucoma or these risk factors:
- You’re over the age of 60.
- You’re African American (Those of African descent are 6-8 times more likely to have glaucoma.)
- You’ve experienced a blunt eye injury, which may have put more pressure on your optic nerve.
- You’re severely nearsighted.
- You have hypertension.
There are five forms of glaucoma tests that are necessary to complete your glaucoma diagnosis including:
- Tonometry: Evaluating the level of inner eye pressure through the use of a tonometer device to determine the level of pressure in your eye. Our eye doctor will numb your eye with anesthetic drops before applying slight pressure to your eye through a small device or warm burst of air.
- Ophthalmoscopy: This is a dilated eye exam that evaluates the color and shape of your optic nerve. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for sending visual information to the brain. Dr. Kirk or Dr. Colvin will dilate your pupil with eye drops, then use a lighted device to magnify your optic nerve. If this looks unusual, we will likely continue on with the other forms of glaucoma tests.
- Perimetry: A visual field test is done to create a map of your total field of vision. This helps our eye doctors figure out if your eyesight is being affected by glaucoma. You will be asked to look straight ahead of you and signal when the light passes your peripheral vision.
- Gonioscopy: Gonioscopy is a diagnostic exam that studies the angle at which the iris meets your cornea to figure out if the angle is wide, narrow or closed. Anesthetic eye drops will be administered then a contact lens will be placed gently on your eye. This mirrored lens shows us whether your iris and cornea angle is open and wide or blocked and closed.
- Pachymetry: This glaucoma test is fast and painless. Pachymetry is done to evaluate corneal thickness using a pachymeter (probe) that is placed on the cornea. Corneal thickness can impact eye pressure readings, and with this final test, we can further evaluate your intraocular pressure (IOP) reading.
If you’re 40 and older or have an increased risk of glaucoma, please contact our eye doctors in Loveland at 970-669-1107 to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today. Kirk Eye Center serves clients in Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor and surrounding Colorado areas.