What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of diseases that cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. The optic nerve comprises of many nerve cells that take informaiton from the retina to the brain in order for us to see. When the optic nerve is damaged a loss in peripheral visual field results. Patients with early Glaucoma, generally do not notice this loss of vision as it begins. If left untreated, Glaucoma can cause blindness.

What causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve can be caused by increased pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). If too much fluid is being produced or fluid is not draining efficiently then the intraocular pressure can rise, putting pressure on the optic nerve. In some forms of Glaucoma there is no pressure rise. Risk factors for Glaucoma include age, family history, race and smoking. If you are over 40 you are at higher risk and need to ensure your eyes are checked regularly.

What treatment is there for Glaucoma?

There is no cure for Glaucoma, but it can be managed. Early detection is vital, as damage to the optic nerve is irreversible. There are treatments available for Glaucoma that focus on reducing eye pressure. These treatments will be discussed with you and referral to an Ophthalmologist is indicated.

For further information on Glaucoma visit the Glaucoma Foundation.