Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. Early detection is key to preventing vision loss, and optometrists play an important role in diagnosing glaucoma. In this article, we'll explore how optometrists can detect glaucoma, what tests they use, and how to ensure early detection. A simple test, such as measuring the patient's intraocular pressure, can detect some patients with primary open-angle glaucoma at an early stage.
A complete eye exam is often the only way to detect glaucoma. During the routine eye exam, the optometrist will perform a simple, painless procedure called tonometry to measure the eye's internal pressure. The optometrist will also examine the eye to observe the condition of the optic nerve and retina and to inspect the drainage angle. Specialized equipment can be used to measure the field of view, and additional imaging machines can be used to examine the optic nerve and retinal layers. Visual acuity testing can detect people with obvious visual loss, but it cannot detect those with minute changes in vision that are expected in the early stages of glaucoma.
Changes in vision are often subtle and may not manifest as a complete loss of vision in the early stages of the disease. Therefore, early glaucoma will most likely not be detected with a visual acuity test alone. Peripheral vision is often more affected than central vision in early and moderate glaucoma. This is why glaucoma specialists prefer visual field tests, such as Goldmann or Humphrey Zeiss perimetry, to visual acuity testing. If an optometrist suspects that you have glaucoma after a routine eye test, there are different tests they can perform.
For example, simple decision-making tools, alerts and directions (delivered in the form of brochures, wall stickers, or computer systems) could be designed to help optometrists and general practitioners make decisions. The optometrist should detect damage to the optic nerve in the back of the eye or use a field of view test to measure any loss of peripheral vision. Optical: A two-year university program allows them to wear eyeglasses and contact lenses with a prescription from an optometrist. The main “trigger” for detecting glaucoma in participants who reported that they regularly attended routine optometry consultations was a change of appointment with the optometrist or general practitioner (GP). Normal glaucoma is usually detected during a complete eye exam, often before the patient notices a loss of vision, when an optometrist measures the pressure of the fluid inside the eye by touching it with a probe or a puff of air.
Some optometrists use a different instrument, which uses a puff of air and does not touch the eye, to check pressure. The optometrist will place a small amount of pain reliever (anesthetic) and dye on the front of the eye. We suggest that attempts to address false positives by improving glaucoma detection and referral by optometrists should also focus on reducing false negatives and delays in detection and service. In Scotland, participants reported that their optometrist referred them directly to specialized services, while in England, referrals from optometrists to hospital eye services had to be done through their general practitioner. However, it is not possible to determine from these data whether waiting times reflected availability of appointments with specialists per se (for example, minimum waiting time for all referrals) or details of referral (for example, level of emergency reported by optometrists or general practitioners). While referral refinement systems exist throughout the United Kingdom with direct referral from optometrists to specialized eye services, patient narratives indicate considerable variation in route after detection. Optometry doctors say that optometrists are well aware of normal-tension glaucoma, which is most commonly diagnosed.
Briar Sexton diagnosed Gray's vision loss cause and states that it should have been referred immediately after Gray told optometrists her vision was changing. Visual acuity using a Snellen chart is a simple and routine eye evaluation usually performed in ophthalmologists' and optometrists' offices. It should be noted that this quote comes from a patient (P0) who reported her father and grandmother were blind due to glaucoma and that her right eye's optic disc had a hemorrhage observed by her optometrist in 1992. Sexton recognizes there are waiting lists for non-urgent cases seeing eye doctors and that optometrists play an essential role.