Diagnosis and treatment

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An optometrist is the health professional who conducts routine eye tests at the opticians.

This test should include all three tests for glaucoma, as having all three is more effective at detecting glaucoma than having one or two.

1. Measuring the pressure inside your eye – known as the eye pressure test or tonometry.  This test usually involves a puff of air being directed at each eye from a special machine.
2. Looking into to your eye at the optic nerve - using an ophthalmoscope, a special instrument, rather like a torch, to take a close look at the area of your eye where your optic nerve leaves the retina.
3. Testing your field of vision – known as the visual field test or perimetry. This involves sitting in front of a special machine, looking straight ahead.  It tests first one eye, then the other. Points of light come in from different directions and you press a button every time you see one. This produces a computer print out showing which lights you saw and identifying if you missed lights from a particular direction.

If you have signs of glaucoma, the optician refers you to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) for more detailed tests that also identify the appropriate treatment.


It is not possible to restore sight lost due to glaucoma. This is why regular eye tests and treatment are so important.

Treatment aims to lower the pressure in your eye and so prevent further damage to the optic nerve. In most cases this is achieved using eye drops. There are several types of eye drops. You must use the eye drops for as long as your doctor advises, which could be for the rest of your life. Taking your prescribed drops regularly, even if your sight is good, is very important as this helps prevent any sight loss.

You will probably be monitored at least once a year by the ophthalmologist at the hospital or sometimes by your optometrist, to make sure your treatment is working and your eye pressure is under control.

If eye drops are not successful there are a number of different laser treatments that can be used to control the pressure in your eye. In some cases surgery may be suggested.

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