Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions where the optic nerve is damaged at the point where it leaves the eye. The optic nerve carries images from the retina, the light sensitive membrane attached to the inner surface of the eye, to the brain.
• Chronic glaucoma (slow onset)
• Acute glaucoma (sudden onset)
• Secondary glaucoma (caused by another eye condition)
• Congenital or developmental glaucoma (a condition in babies caused by malformation of the eye)
Regular eye tests are important. According to the RNIB, chronic glaucoma affects one percent of people over 40 and five percent of people over 65. The risk of glaucoma increases with age and if left untreated it can cause blindness.
Chronic glaucoma often has no symptoms and the eye may seem normal. This isn’t painful and at first your vision may be unaffected.
Although damage caused by glaucoma cannot be repaired, with early diagnosis, regular observation, and treatment, this can usually be kept to a minimum. If you do experience some sight loss your Optometrist will be able to advise you on low vision aids and your Ophthalmologist will advise whether you are eligible to register as sight impaired.
The eye test is important for the detection of many eye diseases. If you are over 40 and have a family history of glaucoma, you should have an eye test every 12 months.