Evaluation of the Glaucoma Suspect

  • There is no perfect test, like a pregnancy test, which proves conclusively that a patient has glaucoma. Frequently, the doctor must make a judgment about the existence of this disease in a patient based on the results of several tests.

  • The assessment of the patient whose examination is suspicious for glaucoma starts with a careful history. Risk factors include family history of glaucoma, family history of blindness, the presence of diabetes mellitus or thyroid disease, and the use of certain medications like systemic steroids.

  • The examination includes determination of intraocular pressure (tonometry), slit lamp examination of the eye, and evaluation of the appearance of the optic nerve. Many patients benefit from gonioscopy (a contact lens examination of the eye) and visual field testing.

  • Following this thorough examination, the doctor must use his judgment to determine the presence or absence of this disease. It is as important to insure treatment of actual disease as it is to prevent the use of unnecessary medications.

  • A second opinion is frequently helpful in the evaluation of the glaucoma suspect.
Last updated by Webmaster on June 22, 2009

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