To kick off our ‘in focus’ series, we’re taking a closer look at glaucoma and how it can affect vision.
Did you know that Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in the UK?
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that damages the optic nerve and can cause sight loss.
The optic nerve transmits visual information from your eye to your brain to process.
A regular sight test can detect and diagnose glaucoma, which is why it’s important to attend your regular sight test.
How does glaucoma affect vision?
Glaucoma affects the peripheral field of vision first.
As severe damage creates a ‘tunnel effect’ in your vision, it can be difficult to read, drive and safely navigate the world around us without peripheral vision.
The damage can lead to an eventual loss of central vision if left untreated, but blindness is rare.
Vision deteriorates slower with the most common type of glaucoma, primary angle open glaucoma.
What causes glaucoma?
Damage occurs to the optic nerve when there is too much or too little pressure at the back of the eye.
Unfortunately, any damage to vision is irreversible as the optic nerve’s fibres can’t regenerate themselves.
Early detection of the condition allows for monitoring and treatment to help delay progression and prevent further sight loss.
The good news is that lowering eye pressure and using drops can help treat glaucoma.
That’s why it’s vital to attend your regular sight test, so your optician can help you to see better and live better for longer.
What are the types of glaucoma?
There are 4 main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, secondary glaucoma and congenital glaucoma.
Primary open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly and is the most common type of the condition.
Angle-closure glaucoma is a rare type of glaucoma, occurring slowly (chronic) or rapidly (acute) with pressure painfully building-up in the eye.
Secondary glaucoma is the result of another eye condition like uveitis (inflammation of the eye’s middle layer).
Congenital glaucoma is a rare (sometimes inherited) form of the condition resulting from developmental issues of the eye’s drainage system. This type of glaucoma is typically diagnosed by the age of 1.
Keep an eye out for signs of glaucoma
This closer look at glaucoma highlights the need for a regular sight test to assist early detection of the condition.
There are usually no warning signs for the most common type of glaucoma (primary open-angle), so a regular sight test is a must.
On the other hand, pain and redness of the eyes can indicate a different form of glaucoma.
If you experience these symptoms or your regular sight test is due you should visit your local opticians.
Remember, early detection of glaucoma can help delay progression and preserve your sight, helping you to see better and live better for longer.