Glaucoma is a eye disease , where the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain, becomes damaged. It can lead to loss of vision if not detected and treated early on.
Glaucoma doesn’t usually have any symptoms to begin with and is often only picked up during a routine eye test.Many people don’t realise they have it because it develops slowly over many years and tends to cause a loss of peripheral vision (the edge of your vision) at first. Both eyes are usually affected, although it may be worse in one eye. Without treatment, it can eventually lead to blindness .
- Symptoms :
• intense eye pain
• a red eye
• a headache
• tenderness around the eyes
• seeing rings around lights
• blurred vision
Glaucoma is usually caused by a blockage in the part of the eye that allows fluid to drain from it. This can lead to a build-up of fluid and pressure in the eye and can damage the optic nerve.It’s often unclear exactly what causes it, although there are some things that can increase your risk, including:
• your age – glaucoma becomes more likely as you get older and the most common type affects around 1 in 10 people over 75
• your ethnicity – people of African, Caribbean or Asian origin are at a higher risk .
• your family history – you’re more likely to develop glaucoma if you have a parent or sibling with the condition
Tests for glaucoma:
• There are several quick and painless tests that can be carried out to diagnose and monitor glaucoma.
• Eye pressure test
An eye pressure test (tonometry) uses an instrument called a tonometer to measure the pressure inside your eye.
Gonioscopy is an examination of the front outer edge of your eye, between the cornea (transparent layer at the front of your eye) and the iris (the coloured part of your eye).
A gonioscopy can help to determine whether this area (called the “angle”) is open or closed (blocked), which can affect how fluid drains out of your eye.
• Visual field test
A visual field test – sometimes called perimetry – checks for missing areas of vision.You may be shown a sequence of light spots and asked which ones you can see. Some dots will appear in your peripheral vision (around the sides of your vision), which is often affected by glaucoma to begin with.
If you can’t see the spots in your peripheral vision, it may indicate the glaucoma has damaged your vision.
• Optic nerve assessment
The optic nerve (the nerve connecting your eye to your brain) can become damaged in glaucoma, so an assessment may be carried out to see if it’s healthy.
For the test, eye drops will be used to enlarge your pupils. Your eyes are then examined with a slit lamp and OCT
• Optical coherence tomography
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a type of scan where special rays of light are used to scan the back of your eye and produce an image of it.
This can help detect any damage to the retina (the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye) or optic nerve caused by glaucoma.
Treatments for glaucoma
It’s not possible to reverse any loss of vision that occurred before glaucoma was diagnosed, but treatment can help stop your vision getting any worse.
The treatment recommended for you will depend on the type of glaucoma you have, but the main treatments are:
• eye drops – to reduce the pressure in your eyes
• laser treatment – to open up the blocked drainage tubes in your eyes or reduce the production of fluid in your eyes
• surgery – to improve the drainage of fluid from your eyes