Glaucoma Testing

About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases, which leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye, potentially resulting in irreversible vision loss. It is often referred to as the "silent thief of sight” because it can advance slowly without noticeable symptoms. It initially affects peripheral vision and creates a gradual "tunnel vision" effect. Untreated, glaucoma can advance to complete blindness.

In Australia, a staggering 50% of people with glaucoma remain undiagnosed1. This alarming statistic emphasises the silent nature of the condition in its early stages. Glaucoma testing is not only essential; it is a proactive step towards maintaining your sight and overall well-being.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

Understanding the risk factors associated with glaucoma is crucial for assessing your own risk and taking preventive measures. These risk factors include:

  • Family History: If you have a direct family member with glaucoma, your risk increases by tenfold.

  • Age: Glaucoma is more common in individuals over the age of 60, making regular eye exams increasingly important as you get older.

  • Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups, such as individuals of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent are at higher risk for glaucoma.

  • High Intraocular Pressure (IOP): Elevated IOP is a significant risk factor, though it's essential to note that not everyone with high IOP will develop glaucoma.

  • Myopia: Nearsighted individuals may have a slightly higher risk of glaucoma.

  • Eye injuries or inflammation: A history of eye injuries or severe eye inflammation can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.

  • Medical history: Conditions such as high or low blood pressure, a history of glaucoma, migraines, sleep apnea, and a chronic course of corticosteroid medications may increase your risk.

Early detection and timely intervention are crucial for managing glaucoma effectively. Regular glaucoma assessment, especially for individuals at higher risk, are essential to identify glaucoma in its early stages and initiate appropriate treatment.

Glaucoma Testing

When it comes to assessing and monitoring glaucoma, a comprehensive array of examinations are employed. Here's a closer look at each:

  • Medical and Family History: Understanding your family history and relevant medical conditions is crucial. This information provides valuable insights into potential genetic predispositions and aids in assessing your overall risk for glaucoma.

  • Vision Testing and Refraction: High level of myopia (nearsightedness) face an increased risk. Therefore, a meticulous vision assessment is essential. This thorough examination helps identify any visual abnormalities that may be indicative of glaucoma.

  • Anterior Ocular Examination: This examination involves checking the angles of your eyes and scrutinising for secondary causes of glaucoma. Conditions such as cataracts, pigment dispersion syndrome, and pseudoexfoliative syndrome are evaluated to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your eye health.

  • Intraocular Pressure Check: Measuring the pressure inside your eyes is a critical step as elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) can be an early indicator of glaucoma.

  • Corneal Corneal Thickness (CCT): The thickness of the cornea plays a crucial role in intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement during glaucoma assessments. Thin corneas can lead to artificially low IOP readings, while thick corneas may result in artificially high readings.

  • Visual Field Testing: Visual field testing assesses your complete field of vision, with a particular focus on peripheral vision. Since early-stage glaucoma often affects peripheral vision, regular visual field testing is integral to detecting abnormalities. Patients respond to stimuli while focusing on a fixed point, and the results are plotted to create a visual field map.

  • OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography):  This advanced imaging technology provides cross-sectional images and quantitative measurement of the optic nerve and retinal nerve fibre layer. This allows detection of subtle changes that may indicate glaucoma, even before noticeable symptoms or visual field loss occur.

These tests not only aid in identifying glaucoma in its early stages but are also crucial for initiating timely treatment in order to protect your vision and preserve your overall quality of life. Therefore, prioritising regular glaucoma assessments becomes a crucial step in maintaining our eyesight and ensuring a healthier future. If you're considering a glaucoma eye test, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment today

1 Keel, S., Xie, J., Foreman, J., et al. "Prevalence of glaucoma in the Australian National Eye Health Survey." British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 103, no. 2, 2019, pp. 191–5.