Glaucoma is a very common eye condition and one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the UK. By being aware of it, we can detect it early on and therefore reduce its impact.
So what is Glaucoma?
Your eye has pressure just like your blood and when this Intra-ocular Pressure (IOP) increases to dangerous levels; it damages the nerve at the back of the eye, the optic nerve. This can result in decreased peripheral vision and eventually blindness.
Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” as there very few warning signs, no hint that anything is wrong. About half of sufferers of glaucoma do not realise they have it. Glaucoma gradually reduces your peripheral vision, but by the time most people become aware of it permanent damage has already occurred. If the pressure inside the eye remains high, the destruction can progress until tunnel vision develops and only objects which are straight ahead are visible.
How is Glaucoma detected?
As there are virtually no symptoms in the early stages it is important to have regular eye health checks every two years even if you do not require glasses. A series of completely painless tests can detect the pressure of glaucoma. It is mainly treated by using drops which need to be used every day to reduce eye pressure and then maintain it at a low level. Occasionally laser surgery is required to assist in the lowering of the pressure.