Diagnosis and Evaluation

When physicians diagnose and monitor glaucoma disorders, they are primarily focused on the fluid pressure in the eye, the reasons for the increased pressure, and the extent of vision loss as the disease progresses.

Forms of Glaucoma

  • Inherited forms of the disease: Rarely evident in the first two decades of life, a form of inherited glaucoma known as primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of the disease, affecting 7 to 8 million Americans.
  • Congenital glaucoma
  • Pigmentary glaucoma
  • Neovascular glaucoma
  • Pseudoexfoliation syndrome
  • Anterior segment dysgenesis syndromes
  • Low or normal tension glaucoma

Clinical Evaluation During your Visit

Your visit to the Mass. Eye and Ear Glaucoma Service will include a very specialized exam as well as specific diagnostic tests, which aid the physician in providing a comprehensive evaluation of your condition and in answering any questions you may have. The initial evaluation will cover your medical history, ocular history and family history. Examinations and diagnostic tests can include slit-lamp biomicroscopy, gonioscopy, optic nerve head imaging, tonometry (pressure), threshold visual field (also known as perimetry), non-mydriatic fundus photography, and nerve fiber analysis.

As a result, please be prepared to be here for two to three hours on your first appointment. Almost every new patient will have his or her pupils dilated in order to do a complete ophthalmic evaluation. Dilation takes 30 to 45 minutes, but the effects can last an average of four to six hours. In some cases, effects persist up to 24 hours. Blurry vision is usually a side effect, and it is strongly suggested that patients have someone drive them home from their appointment.