Glaucoma is a serious group of eye diseases that can undermine your vision and even cause blindness by damaging the optic nerve, which carries impulses from the retina located in the back of the eye to the brain. Fortunately, there are various types of glaucoma testing that allow our doctors to diagnose this condition in its early stages at our Chicago, IL, practice.
If you have been experiencing vision problems, our office might suggest assessing you for glaucoma. Based on your condition, we will determine the most suitable testing option. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, we also provide a variety of treatments to preserve your vision.
What Causes Glaucoma?
While there is likely a genetic component to the development of glaucoma, the precise cause is not known. However, it typically leads to an increase in the pressure within your eye, which can damage the optic nerve and affect vision. Glaucoma is often tied to:
- Buildup of aqueous humor
- Blocked blood vessels
- Eye injuries or trauma
- Eye infections
- Complications from certain eye surgeries
With this standard test in our Chicago, IL, practice, the doctor dilates the pupils to get a better view of the color and shape of the optic nerve. With a small tool with a light on one end, your optic nerve is magnified. If a patient’s nerve looks unusual or if the eye pressure is outside of the normal range, the doctor can perform additional tests.
The doctor uses this test to measure the pressure in the eye with a device called a tonometer. A blast of warm air or a small device applies a small amount of pressure to the eye to get a better look. If eye pressure is outside of the normal range of 12 to 22 mm Hg, it may indicate glaucoma. We can then perform more extensive tests at our Chicago, IL, office to confirm the diagnosis.
Gonioscopy is used to determine which type of glaucoma is affecting you. During this test, your physician places numbing drops in the eye and inserts a hand-held contact lens. The lens is equipped with a mirror to give your doctor a closer view of the drainage angle between your iris and cornea. If the angle is blocked or closed, the patient might have acute glaucoma. For patients with an open and wide angle, this could signify chronic glaucoma.
With pachymetry, the thickness of the cornea is measured using a probe. The doctor will gently place the tool on the front of the eye. This test is important since corneal thickness can affect eye pressure.
One type of glaucoma testing that doctors commonly perform is perimetry, which provides a map of a patient’s full field of vision. The patient looks straight ahead as the physician places a light spot in different areas to check peripheral vision.
Your doctor might want to perform this exam several times to see how the results vary. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, perimetry is typically recommended two or three times per year to determine further vision changes.
What If I Have Glaucoma?
If glaucoma testing in our Chicago, IL, office determines that you have the condition, there are several treatment options available. Our doctors will devise a treatment plan suitable for your needs, which can include:
- Medication: Doctors often prescribe eye drops to lower eye pressure to prevent glaucoma from worsening.
- Laser procedure: An in-house laser procedure can help drain excess fluid from your eyes.
- Surgery: Several surgical options are available if medication and laser treatment do not work effectively.
Schedule an Appointment
For patients over 40, those with vision changes, or with those with a family history of glaucoma, you can contact our office for glaucoma testing by calling (773) 376-2020. We can schedule an appointment and perform the appropriate assessment to determine if you have glaucoma.