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When are Routine Glaucoma Screenings Necessary?

Glaucoma is an extremely serious group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, leading to the gradual loss of vision. Glaucoma frequently occurs when there’s abnormally high pressure within the eyes (intraocular pressure), which can damage the fibers of the optic nerve and cause vision problems. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends routine glaucoma screenings for individuals with a high risk of glaucomas, such as diabetic individuals and those with a family history of glaucoma.

Routine glaucoma screenings are important because glaucoma is a progressive and irreversible condition. If you don’t diagnose glaucoma at an early stage, it will continue damaging your optic nerve, leading to the progressive loss of vision. Severe glaucoma leads to permanent and irreversible blindness. While there’s no cure for glaucoma, early intervention can prevent the condition from progressing or dramatically slow the progression. As such, if you have a high risk of glaucoma because of age, medical conditions, or medical history, please opt for routine glaucoma screenings.  It is important to understand most glaucoma is an asymptomatic disease until you start to lose vision.

Risk factors for
glaucoma include:

  • Aging — the risk of glaucoma increases after 40
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High intraocular pressure
  • Ethnicity — African Americans have a high risk of open-angle glaucoma, and individuals with East Asian ancestry have a high risk of closed-angle glaucoma
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia)
  • History of eye injuries
  • History of eye surgeries
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Taking corticosteroid medicines

AAO-recommended schedule
for glaucoma screenings:

  • Every 1 to 3 years for people between 40 and 54 years of age
  • Every 1 to 2 years for people between 55 and 64 years of age
  • Every 6 to 12 months for people over 65 years of age

Your Glaucoma Examination Includes…

Tonometry (Eye Pressure Test)

Tonometry measures the intraocular pressure within the eyes, which is the primary risk factor for glaucoma. The eye doctor administers eye drops to numb the eyes, following which the eye pressure may be measured by one of several devices.

Ophthalmoscopy (Optic Nerve Test)

Ophthalmoscopy allows the eye doctor to examine the optic nerve. The eye doctor dilates the pupils and uses a special device to magnify the optic nerve and visualize its shape and color. If the optic nerve looks unusual, the eye doctor may administer further glaucoma tests.

Perimetry (Visual Field Test)

Perimetry is a visual field test that allows the eye doctor to create a comprehensive map of your field of vision. The eye doctor will ask you to look at a central fixation light and then ask you to press a button whenever you see a spot in different areas of your peripheral vision. It is important to maintain focus on the central fixation light and not to shift your gaze to see the peripheral lights. This will reveal if your field of vision is compromised.

Gonioscopy (Iris-Cornea Angle Test)

Gonioscopy is a diagnostic test that helps the eye doctor determine if you have open-angle glaucoma or closed-angle glaucoma. The eye doctor will study the angle where the iris and cornea interact using a handheld contact lens, which will reveal the type of glaucoma and potential problems compromising the angle.

Pachymetry (Corneal Thickness Test)

Pachymetry is a painless test that measures the thickness of your cornea via a special probe. The thickness of your cornea can influence the intraocular pressure reading, so accurate corneal thickness measurements can enhance the accuracy of the diagnosis and pressure measurements.

OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)

OCT is a device which allows computerized measurements of the optic nerve and surrounding stuctures affected by glaucoma.  Serial measurements allow your opthalmologist to evaluate your condition for stability or progression.


This is a photograph of your optic nerve and retina to allow your ophthalmologist to detect changes over time.

Schedule an Appointment

Medical Surgical Eye Institute is a premier eye care center specializing in cutting-edge diagnostic solutions and treatments for glaucoma. While glaucoma can’t be cured, we provide the latest diagnostic testing to diagnose and detect progression.  This allows our ophthalmologists to suggest different interventions to slow or halt its progression and prevent further vision loss. If you have a high risk of glaucoma, please visit our ophthalmologists for regular glaucoma screenings to identify and stop the condition at the earliest stage possible. Please schedule an appointment to learn more about glaucoma screenings in Worcester.

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