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Glaucoma

Vision is a precious gift that allows us to experience the world around us. Among the many threats to eye health, Glaucoma is one of the most common leading causes of blindness1. Often referred to as the “silent thief of sight”2, Glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss if left untreated.3

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the eye’s Optic Nerve, which is responsible for carrying visual information to the brain and is vital for good vision. It is usually caused by an increase in eye pressure (called intraocular pressure or IOP) which leads to optic nerve damage and loss of peripheral vision, and if untreated, it may progress to blindness.

Types of Glaucoma

There are various types of Glaucoma4 however the two most common are:

  • Open-Angle Glaucoma: This is the most common type, often developing slowly by a gradual increase in eye pressure and therefore can progress without noticeable symptoms until significant vision loss occurs.
  • Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type can cause a sudden increase in eye pressure leading to severe damage and requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms

As stated, unfortunately some types of Glaucoma often progress without noticeable symptoms until later stages when significant damage has already occurred. This is why regular eye examinations are crucial for early detection.

However, in some cases individuals may experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Halos around lights
  • Nausea and vomiting (in acute cases)

Risk Factors

Understanding the risk factors for Glaucoma is crucial for early detection and management. These factors include5,6:

  • Age: The risk increases with age, particularly after the age of 60.
  • Family History: If you have a close relative with Glaucoma, you may be at a higher risk.
  • Race: People of Asian and African descent are at a higher risk.
  • Medical Conditions: Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases may increase the risk of Glaucoma, as well as long term use of steroid medication.
  • Eye Conditions: Severe nearsightedness or farsightedness also raise the risk.

Glaucoma Treatment

The primary goal of Glaucoma treatment is to lower the eye pressure with aims to slow down or prevent damage to the optic nerve. Common treatment options include Eyedrop Medication, Laser Therapy or Eye Surgery.

It’s important to note that the choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the type and severity of Glaucoma, the patient’s overall health, and individual response to treatment. Glaucoma should only be treated by an appropriate eye care professional such as an Ophthalmologist.

Tips to Maintain Eye Health

  • Regular Eye Exams: Schedule comprehensive eye exams regularly especially if you have risk factors. Early detection and treatment can help prevent vision loss.
  • Know Your Family History: Be aware of your family’s eye health history, as genetics can play a role in Glaucoma.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Adopt a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and manage conditions like diabetes and hypertension, which can contribute to Glaucoma.
  • Follow Treatment Plans: If diagnosed with Glaucoma, adhere to your treatment plan as instructed by your doctor.

Conclusion

Taking proactive steps to understand, prevent damage, and manage Glaucoma is essential for preserving your vision. By staying informed about the risk factors, recognizing potential symptoms, and prioritising regular eye exams, you can work towards maintaining healthy eyesight throughout your life.

Get in Touch

If you are concerned about your own or your child’s vision it’s best to book an eye examination to have this properly tested and diagnosed.