Is ophthalmoscopy an effective screening test for glaucoma?

In ophthalmoscopy, a healthcare provider uses a viewing instrument (an ophthalmoscope) to look directly at the optic disc (the area where the nerves come together and leave the eye). He or she is looking for the changes that often precede glaucoma. As a screening tool, ophthalmoscopy has some limitations. First, because even experts vary greatly in their interpretation of what they see, this method has poor accuracy in pinpointing glaucoma: ophthalmologists using ophthalmoscopy alone may detect fewer than half of all cases of glaucoma. Your primary care physician probably would be even less accurate. Second, no combination of features of the optic nerve can be used with certainty to distinguish people with glaucoma from normal people.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.