Eyesight is one of the most important senses. Without the ability to see clearly, it can be challenging to engage in routine daily tasks. Regular eye exams with your optometrist can be a great way to preserve your vision by identifying the early signs of disease.
Glaucoma is one disease that eye doctors check for. This condition occurs when intraocular fluid within the eye cannot circulate and drain properly. As the pressure of the fluid builds up, the optic nerve is damaged, and eyesight is compromised.
An optometrist such as those at Olympia Eye Clinic, Inc., P.S. will likely use one of these tests to help diagnose glaucoma during your next eye exam.
1. Non-Contact Tonometry
The most commonly performed test to check for glaucoma is a non-contact tonometry test. This test requires that your eye doctor directs a small puff of air into your eye. Specialized equipment then measures the pressure of the intraocular fluid within the eye based on the level of resistance your eye displays to the puff of air.
This test is non-invasive and completely painless. It can be performed in a matter of minutes, which is one reason why eye doctors turn to the non-contact tonometry test as an initial diagnostic tool in monitoring for glaucoma.
2. Slit-Lamp Exam
Another test utilized by eye doctors to monitor the health of your eyes is the slit-lamp exam. This type of exam allows an optometrist to visually inspect the optic nerve at the rear of the eye using a microscope.
The lights in the exam room will be dimmed, and a special lamp that produces a slit of light will be used to illuminate the structure of the eye. Any damage to the optic nerve spotted during a slit-lamp exam can be evidence of glaucoma.
3. Applanation Tonometry
A more invasive test that your doctor might turn to when trying to determine if you have glaucoma is an applanation tonometry test.
This examination requires that your eye doctor flattens a portion of your cornea. The amount of pressure required to flatten the cornea can give your optometrist valuable information regarding the pressure of the intraocular fluid within your eye.
You will be administered an anesthetic eye drop to eliminate any pain or discomfort during the test. A very thin piece of paper that is coated with a special dye is then placed on the surface of the eye. The dye temporarily colors your tears so that the doctor know when the tonometer makes contact with your cornea.