Physical Examination for Glaucoma

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Physical Examination for Glaucoma

Topic Overview

Glaucoma is not diagnosed using a physical examination alone. A medical history and other tests are also needed to diagnose the condition. During the physical examination for glaucoma, the health professional will:

  • Measure the eye pressure (intraocular pressure). Often pressure in the eye is high when glaucoma is present. However, a person can still have glaucoma when the pressure in the eye is within the normal range (10 millimetres of mercury [mm Hg] to 21 mm Hg).
  • Examine the optic nerve in the back of the eye to look for signs of damage that could be caused by glaucoma.
  • 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 centre 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.

Related Information


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised August 2, 2010

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