A patient may be diagnosed as a "glaucoma suspect" when during an eye examination, the ophthalmologist encounters any of the following:
1) Increased intraocular pressure
2) Large optic nerve cup
3) Optic nerve cup asymmetry
4) Thinner central corneal thickness
The intraocular pressure is considered high depending on several factors. A patient can have a pressure of 25 and not have glaucoma, while somebody else may have a pressure of 10 and develop damage to the optic nerve.
Patients with a large nerve size are considered suspicious for glaucoma because a high pressure, over time, causes the nerve cup to become larger. On the other hand, some people are born with these large nerves, in which case they are said to have physiological cupping.
For these reasons, when an ophthalmologist encounters any of these findings, the patient will be required to undergo several glaucoma tests, which include the visual field test, nerve fiber layer analysis, OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scan of the optic nerves, gonioscopy and pachymetry. Depending on the results of these tests the doctor may decide on observation, prescribing medication or suggesting laser treatments.