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Glaucoma Screening

Topic Overview

If you are younger than 40 and have no known risk factors for glaucoma, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that you have a complete eye exam every 5 to 10 years. This includes tests that check for glaucoma.1 The AAO suggests more frequent routine eye exams as you age.

The AAO also suggests that people who are at risk for glaucoma have complete eye exams according to the schedule below:

  • Ages 40 to 54, every 1 to 3 years
  • Ages 55 to 64, every 1 to 2 years
  • Ages 65 and older, every 6 to 12 months

Your eye doctor may advise you to have eye exams more often, depending on your level of risk and your overall eye health.

People at increased risk for glaucoma include those who:2

  • Are middle-aged and older. The chance of getting glaucoma gets higher as you age, especially after age 40.
  • Have a family history of glaucoma.
  • Have high eye pressure (high intraocular pressure).
  • Are African Americans (for open-angle glaucoma).
  • Are East Asians and people with East Asian ancestry (for closed-angle glaucoma).
  • Are farsighted (greater risk for developing closed-angle glaucoma).
  • Have had an eye injury or eye surgery, such as cataract surgery.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Have been taking corticosteroid medicines.

Because people with glaucoma may have normal pressures in their eyes, measuring eye pressure (tonometry) should not be used as the only test for glaucoma. It needs to be combined with other tests before glaucoma can be diagnosed.

After reviewing all of the research, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has not recommended for or against routine glaucoma screening for all adults.3

For more information about glaucoma and vision screening, see the topics Glaucoma and Vision Tests.

References

Citations

  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology (2010). Comprehensive Adult Medical Eye Evaluation (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available online: http://one.aao.org/CE/PracticeGuidelines/PPP_Content.aspx?cid=64e9df91-dd10-4317-8142-6a87eee7f517.
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology (2010). Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma Suspect (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Also available online: http://aao.org/ppp.
  3. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2013). Screening for glaucoma. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsglau.htm. Accessed November 26, 2013.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (2010). Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Also available online: http://aao.org/ppp.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Current as of June 4, 2014

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