Understanding Glaucoma

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Understanding Glaucoma

Globally, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, and if not detected and treated early on it can lead to loss of vision.

That’s why at EyeQ, we offer glaucoma testing so that you can identify any potential issues and seek the necessary treatment. Glaucoma may affect people of any age, and can even develop in babies or children. However it’s most commonly found in adults between the ages of 70 and 80 years old.

A condition in which the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain becomes damaged, glaucoma is surprisingly common. This condition usually occurs when the fluid in the eye is unable to drain properly, thus increasing pressure in the eye and putting strain on the optic nerve.

Glaucoma Symptoms

Initially, most people won’t realise that they have glaucoma, as it develops slowly over time. A routine eye test can pick up signs of glaucoma, and often sufferers think that they need new glasses, or stronger prescription contact lenses as they have noticed a slight change in vision.

This condition can affect one or both eyes and if left untreated can cause blindness.

Symptoms of advancing glaucoma include:

  • Sudden eye pain
  • Red eyes
  • Headaches
  • Seeing light rings
  • Blurred vision
  • Tenderness around the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

These symptoms may suddenly appear, and if they do it’s essential that you consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist, as the more your eyesight deteriorates, the harder it is to treat.

Glaucoma Types

There are a variety of different types of glaucoma and the more popular ones include:

Normal tension glaucoma – Where the pressure inside the eye is at a normal level.

Childhood or congenital glaucoma – A rare type that shows up in young children and is caused by an abnormality in the eye.

Primary open angle glaucoma – The most prevalent type that develops over many years and gets worse with age.

Primary angle closure glaucoma – A less common type that may develop slowly or appear as a sudden onset.

Secondary glaucoma – Caused by an underlying or pre-existing eye condition.

Glaucoma Causes

Generally, glaucoma is caused by a blockage in the part of the eye where fluid drains. This leads to a build up of pressure and damages the optic nerve. The exact cause of this condition is relatively unknown, but there are a few factors that can increase your chances of it developing, including age, ethnicity and family history.

There’s little that one can do to prevent glaucoma, but regular eye tests are your best form of defense, as this means an optometrist will pick up the signs as they begin to show. The older you get, the more regularly you should have your eyes tested, and there are specific glaucoma screenings available if you’re high risk.

Glaucoma Treatments

Although it’s currently not possible to reverse the effects of glaucoma and repair your vision, there are treatments to prevent your eyesight deteriorating further.

These treatments depend on the type of glaucoma you have but may include eye drops, laser surgery or normal surgery. If glaucoma is detected early you can prevent further vision loss and the earlier that this condition is detected, the better the outlook.

If you’ve got any questions about glaucoma, want to have your eyes tested or simply need some advice from a friendly and professional optometrist, get in touch with your nearest EyeQ store, we’re always more than happy to help!

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