Glaucoma tests comprise of the tests used to detect an eye condition that may lead to vision loss if untreated i.e. glaucoma. When the fluid inside the eye, is either formed in excess or fails to be drained adequately, it leads to glaucoma. Glaucoma tests come in many different forms. The following are the most commonly recommended tests:
It is also known as intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement, which is the most important screening test for glaucoma. It determines the pressure within the eye. Glaucoma is more likely to develop in those who have greater than average eye pressure. It’s also crucial to remember that having eye pressure greater than usual does not always indicate you have glaucoma.
The inner layer of the eye (retina) is examined via ophthalmoscopy. This can be performed in both dilated or undilated eyes. To examine the optic nerve, an eye specialist utilizes sophisticated magnifying lenses and medical equipment. In glaucoma diagnosis, the colour, size, shape, and general health of the optic nerve are crucial. The doctor may also image the optic nerve using a digital camera (Fundus photo) at subsequent visits and look for any change in the above parameters.
This is performed using a goniolens, a portable mirrored contact lens that measures the angle between your cornea and iris. If the angle is broad, it indicates open-angle glaucoma; if it is too narrow, it indicates closed-angle glaucoma. The process is painless, and it provides valuable information to your doctor in deciding the treatment plan (eye drops versus laser treatment).
Glaucoma is a condition that may be accentuated by a thin cornea. Through pachymetry, one can measure the thickness of the cornea. It takes merely a minute to measure the corneal thickness using this device. Corneal thickness affects intra- ocular pressure (IOP) measurements, this test aids in the right diagnosis. The process is easy and painless, and it is made simpler by the usage of eye drops.
This is by far the most important diagnostic test for glaucoma and needs to be repeated at serial intervals to look for any progression of the disease. You will be instructed to gaze straight ahead at a screen during this test. Multiple flickers of lights of different intensity will be shone on the screen and when you notice this light while gazing straight ahead, you will need to respond by pressing a hand-held button.
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT RNFL)
Structural changes of the optic nerve can be diagnosed effectively by sophisticated imaging techniques like optical coherence tomography (OCT). The structural changes precede the changes evident on perimetry, sometimes by decades. OCT RNFL may help the doctor to initiate the treatment early to avoid any vision loss. OCT RNFL analysis is an extremely helpful tool in assessing glaucoma suspects, early glaucoma, also in patients with myopia and physiologic cupping where the perimetry may be inconclusive. In addition to diagnosis, RNFL analysis is also useful for monitoring disease progression.
Glaucoma surgery cost in India ranges from INR 15000 to INR 50,000.
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It is very important to remember that glaucoma is a progressive and chronic disease and most of these investigations or tests need to be repeated on all or most subsequent visits, especially for a patient whose treatment for glaucoma has already been initiated.