Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. It often has no symptoms in the early stages, which is why it’s known as the silent thief of vision.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where high pressure inside the eye causes damage to the optic nerve. It affects your peripheral vision first, meaning it is not very noticeable and can damage your sight before you realise you have it.
Glaucoma can affect people of all ages but is more common in people in their 70s and 80s. You are more likely to develop glaucoma if you have a family history of the disease, or if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes.
Types of Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type in the UK and develops very slowly over time.
Angle closure glaucoma is rare but can happen very quickly and is extremely painful. If you have severe pain in your eyes and head, experience nausea or vomiting, blurry vision, rainbows or halos around lights, red eyes, pupils of different sizes or sudden loss of sight call 999 immediately.
Secondary glaucoma is when the condition is triggered by an injury or another eye condition.
An eye examination is the best way to detect and diagnose glaucoma. Because of the lack of symptoms, keeping up with your regular eye exams is essential. Our Heidelberg Spectralis® OCT scan has a special glaucoma module that enables our optometrist to get an in-depth view of the back of your eye and spot even the smallest changes. Early detection is the best chance of successfully treating the condition and could potentially save your sight. If the optometrist spots signs of glaucoma they will determine how far the disease has progressed, and decide what treatment is required to prevent further deterioration.
Once the damage to your optic nerve is done it can’t be reversed, but timely treatment can prevent further damage. For many people, special daily eye drops are sufficient to reduce the pressure in their eye. In a few cases, laser treatment or surgery may be required before you can start using the daily eye drops.