Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve that transmits the visual information from the eye to the visual cortex in the brain. Glaucomatous optic nerve damage causes characteristic changes in the field of vision which, if left untreated can over a period of time lead to significant loss in vision and even blindness. Glaucoma is often associated with raised eye pressure, however it can frequently occur when the eye pressure is thought to be normal and hence a series of different tests are needed to rule out or diagnose the condition.
Investment in technology to ensure your eyes receive the best care
At Parker & Hammond Opticians we have sophisticated diagnostic equipment that can help us diagnose glaucoma at an early stage. We have the latest eye pressure measuring instruments, hospital gold standard visual fields testing equipment and technology to monitor the optic nerve head structure to help us identify early changes. Our optometrists have additional training in the field of glaucoma and have also worked in hospital glaucoma clinics gaining valuable experience and knowledge.
Risk factors for developing glaucoma:
- 1-2% of the population above the age of 40 have glaucoma.
- Therefore regular screening for the condition above the age of 40 is recommended
- Close blood relatives of patients with glaucoma have at least a four-fold increased risk of glaucoma compared with those without a family history.
- People of Afro-Caribbean origin are four times more likely to develop glaucoma than caucassians.
- Glaucoma is more common amongst people who are short sighted (myopic).
- Glaucoma is more common amongst people who are diabetic.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
Open angle glaucoma:
This is the most common form of glaucoma and affects 1-2% of the general population above the age of 40. It is a slow progressive form of glaucoma which in the early stages has no symptoms. The optic nerve gradually gets damaged causing subtle blind spots to develop in the field of vision. The majority of people do not know they have any problem at the point of diagnosis. Early diagnosis is essential to prevent these blind spots from enlarging to a level where they cause visual difficulties. The treatment, usually as simple as using special eye drops, reduces the condition from progressing. As the loss in vision caused by glaucoma cannot be recovered, early diagnosis and treatment is key to preserving your eyesight from glaucoma.
Closed angle glaucoma:
Aqueous fluid produced inside the eye drains through a guttering system called the angle. In closed angle glaucoma the drainage system gets blocked very quickly causing a rapid rise in eye pressure resulting in a very painful red eye with associated symptoms of sickness, nausea and blurred vision. Emergency treatment and referral to accident and emergency is required.
For more information please visit:
The International Glaucoma Association: www.iga.org.uk