Risk Factor Assessment
Your eye doctor will begin by assessing your risk level for developing glaucoma. This will help determine the frequency and extent of testing needed. Through a family history and medical questionnaire, the eye doctor is looking for the following risk factors:
- Over the age of 60
- Ethnic background such as African or black Caribbean descent, Hispanic, or Asian
- Family history of glaucoma, such as a sibling or parent with glaucoma
- History of eye conditions, injuries or surgeries
- Prolonged corticosteroid use (eye drops, pills, inhalers or creams)
- Chronic conditions that affect blood flow, such as migraines, diabetes, low blood
pressure or hypertension
- Current or former smoker
If you’ve already had a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will also consider these risk factors:
- Eye pressure higher than normal (above 21 mm Hg)
- Thin corneas (less than 0.5 millimeters)
Your type of eyesight is also important. People with farsightedness are at a higher risk for narrow-angle glaucoma, a more serious type that can advance quickly. While nearsightedness is associated with open-angle glaucoma, which progresses slowly without any symptoms.
Standard Glaucoma Tests
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will always check for glaucoma, regardless of the risk level. This provides a baseline for comparison as you age. There are two tests: tonometry and ophthalmoscopy.