What is a Glaucoma Suspect?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. The best way to protect your vision from this sight-stealing disease is to have regular comprehensive eye health exams with your eye doctor.

During your eye exam, your doctor may diagnose you as a glaucoma suspect. Keep reading to learn more about what a glaucoma suspect is and what that means for your vision!

What is Glaucoma?  

Glaucoma describes a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve over time.  Damage to the optic nerve is often caused by consistently higher-than-normal eye pressure.

It’s also often called the silent thief of sight because it progressively harms the optic nerve without symptoms, resulting in irreversible vision loss and blindness if left untreated. The optic nerve is an important part of the eye that carries images from the retina to the brain for sight.

A healthy functioning optic nerve is vital for clear and full vision.

What is a Glaucoma Suspect?

If your eye doctor tells you that you are a glaucoma suspect, it means you have no proven optic nerve damage yet. However, you likely have one or more risk factors, like high eye pressure or intraocular pressure (IOP).

You may never develop glaucoma, even as a suspect. Still, close monitoring is essential since glaucoma vision loss can’t be restored.

Yearly eye health exams allow early glaucoma detection, critical for preserving sight.

What Does the Glaucoma Suspect Label Mean?  

If your eye doctor determines that you are a glaucoma suspect, they likely detected one or more of these risk factors:

  • High intraocular pressure
  • Suspicious-looking optic nerve
  • Unusual drainage angles

Other risks include:

  • Age 40+
  • High IOP
  • Past eye trauma
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Thin corneas
  • Family glaucoma history
  • Extreme farsightedness/nearsightedness
  • Prolonged corticosteroid use
  • Hispanic, African American, or Asian heritage
  • Conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, or migraines

Do Glaucoma Suspects Have Symptoms?

If you’re a glaucoma suspect, you likely won’t have any symptoms. Even the most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly without early warning signs.

By the time you notice vision changes, significant optic nerve damage has likely occurred. This is why routine eye exams are important for everyone, whether or not you are a glaucoma suspect or not.

What Tests Are Done to Determine if You’re a Glaucoma Suspect? 

Your comprehensive exam involves thoroughly checking eye and vision health, including your retina and optic nerve. Your eye doctor will also evaluate glaucoma risks.

If any, further glaucoma testing may follow, either the same day or later, like:

  • Dilated eye exam
  • Visual field test
  • Eye angle exam
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Corneal thickness measurement

Do Glaucoma Suspects Need Treatment?

The glaucoma suspect designation means you are at higher risk for developing glaucoma due to the presence of risk factors like elevated eye pressure or a family history of the condition. However, it does not mean you have glaucoma currently or definitively will get it.

Many glaucoma suspects never progress to actual glaucoma requiring medical or surgical intervention. However, close monitoring and regular eye exams are crucial for glaucoma suspects.

Your eye doctor needs to thoroughly evaluate your eyes and vision on a consistent basis to catch even the earliest signs of damage from glaucoma. Through dilation and imaging, subtle changes in the optic nerve can be detected, and treatment can be initiated promptly if necessary.

Comprehensive eye health exams allow the best chance to slow disease progression and preserve sight. Delaying treatment risks further vision loss.

What Can I Do to Protect My Vision?

When caught early, glaucoma treatment is most effective.  Practive diagnosis and timely interventions are key to preserving sight.  Our experienced doctors at VisionPoint Eye Center perform thorough assessments to determine suspects and treatment needs.

Are you ready to schedule your comprehensive eye health exam? Schedule an appointment at VisionPoint Eye Center in Bloomington, IL, today!

Closeup of a Man Smiling
Closeup of a Woman Smiling
Closeup of a Teenager with Glasses
eye health exams
Closeup of a Blue Eye
eye diseases
1107 Optique Logo

See. And be seen.

Choose from a wide array of impeccably crafted, fashion-forward frames for the ultimate in self-expression. 1107 Optique at VisionPoint features exclusive lines of eyewear and sunglasses, including Lafont, Etnia Barcelona, and SALT.

Pencil Icon
LASIK Self-Test
Clipboard Icon
Medical History Forms
Clock Icon
Request an Appointment
Eye Icon
Order Contacts