What is Glaucoma?
This is the name for a group of eye conditions in which the optic nerve (at the back of the eye) is damaged.
How does the damage usually happen?
Damage is caused through increased pressure from fluid in the eye. The amount of damage depends on the amount and pressure and how long it has lasted.
Chronic (or Primary Open Angle) Glaucoma
The danger with chronic glaucoma is that your eyesight may seem perfectly normal. There is no pain, but your peripheral vision is being damaged. Eventually your central vision is affected. At this stage we describe it as tunnel vision.
How is chronic glaucoma detected?
The tests are very straightforward. Most optometrists do them by measuring the pressure inside the eye, checking the peripheral vision through a visual field test, and viewing the optic nerve at the back of the eye. This is the most important check, and glaucoma can be detected very early though very subtle changes to the optic nerve head at the back of the eye.
At Schwarz we can offer a further service, where we photograph the back of the eye, and so we can very accurately track changes to the optic nerve with time by comparing the current optic nerve appearance to an older photograph. We hope to be able to pick up glaucoma and other diseases sooner through this technique. Please ask one of our optometrists, or at reception when booking your sight test, about this service.
Who is most at risk of chronic glaucoma?
People over 40, people of African-Caribbean origin younger than 40, people with close relatives with glaucoma, people who are very short sighted, and people with diabetes.
How is glaucoma treated?
Treatment aims to reduce the pressure in the eye. This will be done through the hospital, and usually starts with eye drops. You will need regular checks afterwards.
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