How is the optic nerve examined?

A bright light will be used to assess the appearance of the optic nerve head, and evaluate the presence of glaucomatous structural damage. It is a quick and painless procedure.

The optic nerve is examined at the slit lamp by using special lenses, usually with NO contact with the eye. The optic nerve or optic disc may also be evaluated by using an instrument known as the Direct Ophthalmoscope. The examiner views inside the eye by coming close to the patient with a portable device.

A photograph of the optic nerve may also be taken to keep a record and see any changes over time. The pupil may have to be dilated for this examination.

How is the optic nerve examined? Fig. 1

Fig. 1. Fundus examination at the slit lamp.

How is the optic nerve examined? Fig. 2

Fig. 2. Fundus examination with direct ophthalmoscopy.

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Important message for glaucoma patients

It is important for you to get yourself regularly screened for glaucoma. If you have been diagnosed to have glaucoma, effective treatment options are now available and regular treatment and follow up can help you to preserve your vision for your lifetime, avoiding unnecessary fear of going blind.

You can live happily with glaucoma and enjoy an excellent quality of life, particularly if the disease is detected early and treated in time. Always remember that once you have glaucoma, you will have to be under the care of an eye doctor for the rest of your life.

There is a lot of research going on and new treatments may become available for glaucoma in the near future.

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