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Glaucoma

Glaucoma

glaw-koh-muh: A group of conditions in which the Optic Nerve (which carries visual information from the retinal cells to the visual centre in the brain) is damaged, initially resulting in loss of the peripheral visual field.

It is thought that this damage is caused by an increase in the pressure of the eye and / or a reduction in the blood supply, or other weakness to the optic nerve head.

CLASSIFICATIONS OF GLAUCOMA

a) Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG)
Where the glaucoma develops slowly in both eyes.Symptoms such as pain, red eye or vision changes do not occur and visual filed loss is also slow.

b) Closed Angle (Chronic) Glaucoma
Presents with a sudden increase in the pressure of one eye.
This causes Pain, redness and hazy vision.

c) Secondary Glaucoma
Glaucoma can also occur as a result of other conditions such as diabetes or Uveitis.

d) Congenital Glaucoma
Glaucoma can rarely be repsent at birth and causes the eye to distend.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR POAG?
Glaucoma occurs in 2% of the population over the age of 40. Groups that are known to be at a higher risk include:  

  • Close relatives of someone who has glaucoma
  • People of Afro–Caribbean origin
  • People with high myopia (short –sightedness)
  • Diabetics

Although not preventable, damage caused to sight by glaucoma can be limited by early diagnoses and careful management. A regular eye test is the most effective way of detecting glaucoma at an early stage. During your eye test, the optic nerve head, eye pressure and visual field will be assessed to help decide if you are at risk of glaucoma.

If you have any concerns with regards to glaucoma, speak to an Optometrist today. 
Further information concerning Glaucoma can be found at:

Royal College of Ophthalmologists
The International Glaucoma Association (IGA)