What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of conditions characterised by progressive damage to the optic nerve.
Causes and Symptoms:
The most common type of glaucoma (chronic glaucoma) is caused by elevated eye pressure and gets worse slowly over many years. Less common is acute glaucoma, which is a medical emergency causing pain, vomiting, blurred vision and blindness within hours or days. Most people with chronic glaucoma are not aware they are affected as their central vision is normal but there is subtle reduction in peripheral vision. If left untreated glaucoma will eventually result in complete loss of vision in one or both eyes.
Treatment for glaucoma depends on the type of glaucoma. Most cases of chronic glaucoma are treated with laser (selective laser trabeculoplasty) or eye drops. Neither treatment is a cure and all patients with glaucoma need to be monitored as treatment may need to be changed if their condition deteriorates. Some people that have or are at risk of developing acute glaucoma require a laser procedure known as a laser peripheral iridotomy. Severe cases of glaucoma require surgery ie trabeculectomy or even cataract surgery.