The result of increased pressure within the eye which if left untreated will lead to damage of the optic nerve. Glaucoma is often a painless and progressive loss of vision. Whilst in most cases glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, glaucoma surgery may be required if drops alone cannot control the pressure. Surgery involves making an additional drainage channel for fluid to leave the eye and to lower the pressure.
Glaucoma is the overall name given to the condition in which the pressure in the eye is not at the correct level for the eye to function normally. People of all ages can get glaucoma, however people over 40 are usually more prone to this condition.
Why and how does this occur?
Each eye has its own "drainage" network, a plumbing network so as to allow the fluid in the eye to drain through and filter to the right places.
In some eyes this network can become blocked and thus the fluid has difficulty flowing through so we see a rise in the pressure. Or some eyes produce too much fluid and again this will lead to a rise in the pressures. Each eye needs a certain pressure to function, rather like the pressures in car tires, for each tire to function correctly it must be kept at an optimal pressure, similar to our eyes.
Unfortunately for some, glaucoma can develop without the patients knowledge and going untreated can often lead to blindness, is it therefore important to ensure that if you have a family history of the disease that you get checked regularly, people over 40 should also be checked as a matter of routine and on a regular two year basis.
Early detection is the key to controlled glaucoma. Damage caused by glaucoma can often not be reversed.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can get glaucoma however some people are at a greater risk of the disease especially if they have one of the following conditions:
- A family history of glaucoma
- Blood pressure
- Short sightedness
- Cortisone drug use either past of present (steroids)
- Eye trauma
People who find themselves in one of the above groups should be checked by the age of 35.