How to Detect and Diagnose Glaucoma Early

Nov 27, 2023

Early glaucoma detection is crucial. A diagnosis can slow or stop further vision loss. Regular comprehensive eye exams are the best way to identify glaucoma. These exams can spot glaucoma’s earliest symptoms and enable prompt treatment. Working with your eye doctor will help you choose the best course of action and check for symptoms, such as changes in your vision.

Early Detection Can Protect Your Vision

Glaucoma is a set of conditions that can damage the optic nerve. This is the nerve that transmits visual information to the brain. Left untreated, it can lead to severe vision loss or blindness.

Many people with early-stage glaucoma may not experience any symptoms. This makes it difficult to detect. As a result, several with glaucoma do not know they have this blinding eye disease. Early detection is possible through a comprehensive dilated eye examination.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for glaucoma include being over 60 or having a family history of glaucoma. Certain ethnicities are more susceptible to glaucoma.

Eye care professionals recommend that those at increased risk get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every two years.

Challenges To Early Diagnosis

The significant variation in appearance of the optic disc and peripapillary region in healthy eyes makes early glaucoma diagnosis difficult. It may be challenging to distinguish some anomalous optic discs from glaucomatous discs.

It is easy to mistake these abnormal visual-field findings in eyes with glaucomatous field defects. Monitoring a person over time and looking for significant structural or functional changes may be the best way to determine whether they have glaucoma.

Detecting Glaucoma

There are several ways to detect glaucoma early:

  • Comprehensive eye exam: Measures the pressure inside the eye. It also checks the optic nerve for damage and looks at the retina.
  • Visual field test: Measures a person’s peripheral vision to look for blind spots.
  • Optic nerve imaging: Uses optical coherence tomography technology to take detailed optic nerve images. It also detects any damage or changes.
  • Pachymetry: Measures the cornea’s thickness, which can show increased eye pressure.

Diagnosing Glaucoma

There are several methods used to diagnose glaucoma, including:

  • Tonometry: This gauges the pressure inside the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP). The test detects increased IOP. Elevated IOP can be a sign of glaucoma.
  • Ophthalmoscopy: This test examines the structure and health of the optic nerve, which can or show damage caused by glaucoma.
  • Visual field testing: This test measures a person’s peripheral vision to detect blind spots, which can signify glaucoma.
  • Pachymetry: This test measures the cornea’s thickness, indicating increased eye pressure.
  • Optic nerve imaging: This test uses technology such as optical coherence tomography to take detailed images of the optic nerve and detect any damage or changes.


It is important to note that early detection is critical to slowing the progression of glaucoma and preserving vision. It is best to schedule regular eye exams and inform your doctor of any vision changes or issues.

To monitor your glaucoma, visit BIG CITY OPTICAL at one of our 16 offices in Chicago, Wilmette, Evanston, Bannockburn, or Glenview, Illinois. Call or click here to book an appointment today.