Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve, which carries images from the retina (light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye) to the brain, allowing you to see. Glaucoma is a progressive condition and can gradually lead to vision loss and blindness.
Early diagnosis and treatment can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss but it cannot reverse any loss of vision that has already occurred.
Glaucoma commonly occurs in people aged 60 years and older. Various factors can lead to this condition. They include family history, diabetes, eye trauma, advanced cataract and advancing age. Some people are born with glaucoma, which is called congenital glaucoma.
There are several different types of glaucoma, which can have different symptoms, causes and treatments. The two most common types of glaucoma are:
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG)
Open-angle glaucoma usually has no early warning signs or symptoms. It develops slowly and first causes loss of side vision (peripheral vision), while the main vision remains the same.
So, open-angle glaucoma may not be noticeable for many years. By the time a person is aware of vision loss, the disease is often quite advanced. Therefore, it’s important for people over the age of 50 to get regular eye examinations.
Angle-closure glaucoma (ACG)
In angle-closure glaucoma angle closure glaucoma, part of the eye that drains fluid becomes blocked. This causes pressure to build up in the eye (also called narrow angle glaucoma), which can lead to optic nerve damage and vision loss. Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma may include:
- Blurred vision
- Seeing rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (with severe eye pain)
- Sudden sight loss
If you or your child experience any of these symptoms, then visit an optician or your GP. If glaucoma is picked up during an initial eye test, you should be referred to an ophthalmologist for further tests.
Eye drops can initially help to reduce the pressure in your eyes caused by glaucoma. If they do not work, then laser treatment or glaucoma surgery are often recommended.
At Circle Health, we can arrange a private appointment for you to see a leading eye consultant who specialises in assessing and treatment glaucoma. They can test your individual condition using the latest ocular devices, and advise you about the most appropriate treatment options for you.