Glaucoma is a group of diseases that causes the optic nerve at the back of the eye to be slowly destroyed. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.
The nerve damage seen in glaucoma commonly happens when the pressure inside the eye builds up due to a blockage in drainage of the fluid. Glaucoma can also be caused by poor blood supply to the optic nerve or a weakness of the nerve structures.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma may come in different forms. In many cases there are no symptoms until the condition is quite advanced. In advanced cases you may begin to notice blurry vision, difficulties in low light and loss of peripheral vision.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
- Family History
- Myopia (short sightedness)
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Steroid usage
- Over the age of 40
Is there a cure for glaucoma?
Unfortunately there is currently no cure for glaucoma. Treatment such as eye drops and surgery can be used to prevent or delay vision loss, but once damage has been done, it is irreversible.
Regular eye examinations are our most important strategy in preventing vision loss from glaucoma. If picked up early, treatment can slow or prevent nerve damage. At Westmead Eyes Optometrists we use a number of testing strategies to diagnose and monitor eyes for glaucoma including eye pressure checks, visual fields testing, retinal photography and ocular coherence tomography (OCT).