Glaucoma is a common eye condition often associated with pressure building up inside the eye. It is a condition that can affect people of all ages but it most common in people in their 70’s and 80’s though the risk increases over 40 years of age if you have a close relative with glaucoma.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions, where the optic nerve is damaged. It is often linked to raised pressure in the eye, although sometimes the pressure can be normal. There are two main types of glaucoma – open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. Even though there may be different causes of the disease, the outcomes are very similar.
What Are The Symptoms Of Glaucoma?
The symptoms of glaucoma can differ depending on which type you have developed.
In the early stages of open-angle glaucoma, your eyesight may seem perfectly normal. There is no pain associated with it, but your peripheral vision is being damaged. Eventually this will lead to your central vision being affected. It is often described as tunnel vision because it feels like you are looking down a tube. This is detectable and treatable so does not always get to this stage.
Symptoms for closed-angle glaucoma can develop quickly, your eye might become red and painful, you can get headaches and sickness and you may notice haloes around lights. If you are experiencing these symptoms it is advised to go to an accident and emergency department immediately.
How Can Glaucoma Affect Sight?
When the optic nerve becomes damaged, this will start to cause problems with the peripheral vision and if left untreated it can cause permanent damage. With early treatment, any further damage to the vision can be prevented. Glaucoma often happens in both eyes, sometimes it can affect one eye more than the other. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of severe sight impairment.
How Is Glaucoma Treated?
Open-angle glaucoma can be treated with eyedrops which reduce the pressure in the eye. These will need to be used daily and you will be monitored regularly.
Closed-angle glaucoma can damage the eye quickly, it is firstly treated by drops and tablets. Laser treatment is often needed, this is to allow the fluid to flow better through the eye. If the laser is not successful, surgery may be required.
As most types of glaucoma may not have any symptoms, it is important to keep up with regular eye examinations. Using our OCT scanner we are able to monitor the eye health and detect any changes such as glaucoma and other eye related diseases. If an immediate family member has glaucoma it is important to let your optometrist know as they will advise you to be seen annually rather than every 2 years if you are over 40.
Glaucoma can develop slowly without any symptoms at all so you are best to attend regularly for your eye examination to get the right measurements taken and allow your expert Optometrist assess your eye health. Done regularly this is the best way to detect and prevent any damage from occurring if glaucoma is diagnosed.
Book your appointment online or call 01332 291010 to see Fiona or Davina for your eye examination.