Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases, where the optic nerve (located in the back of your eye) is damaged by the fluid pressure inside your eye.
Sometimes the pressure is higher than normal or sometimes the pressure can be still considered normal, but the nerve is too delicate so that even normal pressure can cause some damage to it. Glaucoma can affect one or both eyes. A person who suffers with glaucoma can lose parts of their peripheral vision
There are 2 main types of glaucoma: chronic glaucoma, which happens slowly, and acute glaucoma, which happens quickly. Chronic glaucoma is much more common than acute glaucoma. The most common form of chronic glaucoma is called Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG).
Who is at risk of chronic glaucoma:
All ages can develop chronic glaucoma, however the risk increases if you:
- are aged 40 and over
- are near sighted (myopia)
- have raised pressure in one or both your eyes
- have diabetes
- have high blood pressure
- have sleep apnea
- there is a family history of glaucoma (especially if its one your parents or siblings)
A person who suffers with glaucoma can lose parts of their peripheral vision. Late stages can lead to tunnel vision effect. This can put someone at risk of falls, bumping into things, and can affect a person’s ability to drive. To avoid this, its important to catch it early! Routine eye exams are key to diagnosing and treating glaucoma.
I have high pressure, but was told I do not have glaucoma?
Sometimes, the pressure can be above the normal range, but this pressure is not damaging the eyes. This means they do not have glaucoma. Usually in these cases, the cornea (the front of the eye) is considered thicker, and is giving a higher pressure reading. However, people with higher pressures can still develop chronic glaucoma so it is still important to have routine eye exams to be monitored.
Can I go blind if I have glaucoma?
If left undiagnosed or untreated, glaucoma can lead to tunnel vision and ultimately, blindness. Therefore, please make sure you check your eyes by a qualified Doctor of Optometry routinely.