Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve is damaged often by abnormally high pressure in the eye. This eye condition is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the elderly. It can develop gradually and only be noticed once in its advanced stage. Left untreated, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness.
The symptoms may vary depending on the type and stage of the condition, and in the majority of cases, no symptoms are noticed until the late stage of the disease. Most glaucoma patients are detected on routine examination, prior to developing symptoms.
The following symptoms may indicate advanced or severe glaucoma:
- Patchy blind spots
- Tunnel vision
- Eye redness
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Seeing rainbow coloured halos around lights
WHAT CAUSES GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is usually caused by high pressure in the eye. Aqueous fluid normally flows out of the front compartment of the eye called the anterior chamber. When the outflow channel becomes blocked, pressure in the eye may be elevated, causing damage to the optic nerve and resultant glaucoma.
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
A comprehensive eye examination will be performed, including a visual acuity test and field test to measure peripheral vision. The pupils may be dilated to examine the retina and optic nerve for signs of damage. A tonometry test will be done to measure the pressure inside the eye.
HOW IS GLAUCOMA TREATED?
After a comprehensive examination, your ophthalmologist will be able to determine what type of glaucoma you may have and the extent of damage to the optic nerve. You may require eye drops to reduce the formation of fluid in the eye or increase its outflow. In some cases, laser surgery, such as a trabeculoplasty, iridotomy or cyclophoto-coagulation, may be required. Microsurgery known as a trabeculectomy may also be performed to create a new channel for drainage of fluid in the eye. Your ophthalmologist at Melrose House can advise you on which treatment is appropriate for your condition.