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Glaucoma Screening


If you are younger than 40 and have no known risk factors for glaucoma, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) recommends that you have a complete eye exam at least every 10 years. This includes tests that check for glaucoma.footnote 1

If you are at risk for glaucoma, the COS suggests that you have complete eye exams according to the schedule below: footnote 1

  • Over age 40: at least every 3 years
  • Over age 50: at least every 2 years
  • Over age 60: at least once a year

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 higher risk for glaucoma include those who:footnote 2

  • Are middle-aged and older. The chance of getting glaucoma gets higher as you age.
  • Have a family history of glaucoma.
  • Have high eye pressure (high intraocular pressure).
  • Are people of African or Hispanic descent (for open-angle glaucoma).
  • Are people of Asian descent.
  • Have a thin cornea (for open-angle glaucoma).
  • Are very nearsighted (greater risk for getting open-angle glaucoma).
  • Have had an eye injury or eye surgery, such as cataract surgery.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have low blood pressure (hypotension) or high blood pressure (hypertension) that has been over-treated.
  • Have been taking corticosteroid medicines.
  • Have migraines, Raynaud syndrome, or sleep apena.

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



  1. Canadian Ophthalmological Society (2007). Canadian Ophthalmological Society evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the periodic eye examination in adults in Canada. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, 42 (1): 39–45. DOI: 10.1139/i06-126e. Accessed July 19, 2020.
  2. MacIver S, et al. (2017). Screening, diagnosis, and management of open angle glaucoma: An evidence-based guideline for Canadian optometrists. Canadian Journal of Optometry, 79(Suppl 1): 11–14. Accessed June 1, 2022.


Current as of: June 6, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
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