What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common form of eye disease that often runs in families. It affects the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is often caused by high intraocular pressure, a result of a blockage in the eye's drainage system. Early detection and treatment can prevent vision loss in most cases
These images give an impression of what someone with glaucoma may see compared to someone with normal vision.
What are the symptoms?
The most common form of glaucoma starts with the loss of side vision (peripheral vision). There is no pain or discomfort associated with it. The lack of symptoms makes early detection difficult. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
- Painless blurred vision
- Loss of peripheral vision
- Difficulty adjusting to low light
Who is at risk?
Those most at risk include people who:
- Have a family history of glaucoma
- Are aged 40 years and over
- Are short sighted
- Have diabetes
- Have had a serious injury to the eye
- Used steroids regularly over a long period of time
- Have hypertension
Can it be treated?
Glaucoma can be treated with medication, laser treatment or surgery. Early detection and treatment of this condition can prevent or delay vision loss.
To help avoid glaucoma, people should have their eyes regularly examined by an eye care professional. Those in high-risk categories should have their eyes examined well before the age of 35.