Glaucoma is not diagnosed using a physical exam
alone. A medical history and other tests are also needed to diagnose the
condition. During the physical exam for glaucoma, the eye doctor will:
Measure the eye pressure (intraocular pressure).
Often pressure in the eye is high when glaucoma is present. But a person
can still have glaucoma when the pressure in the eye is within the normal range
(10 millimeters of mercury [mm Hg] to 21 mm Hg).
Examine the structures in your eye. The doctor will look at the optic
nerve in the back of the eye to check for signs of damage that could be caused
by glaucoma. He or she will also check the drainage angle in the front of the eye.
Take photos of the optic nerve and/or do imaging tests such as optic coherence tomography. This can help your doctor detect signs of damage to the optic nerve.
Perform visual field tests which can detect loss of
side (peripheral) vision and central vision. Loss of vision may indicate damage
to the optic nerve caused by glaucoma.
Test how quickly the dark
spot in the center of your eye (pupil) closes (constricts) when bright light is
shined on it. If the pupil does not react to light,
closed-angle glaucoma may be suspected.
Look at your eyes for signs of redness or excessive tearing.
Redness and excessive tearing could indicate closed-angle glaucoma. But
glaucoma most often has no symptoms.