Glaucoma

Glaucoma is caused by raised pressure inside your eyeball, because of problems in the eye’s fluid drainage channels. The increased pressure in your eyeball damages the optic nerve.

Summary

Usually the loss of vision is gradual and may not be noticeable as it affects peripheral (side) vision.

Types of glaucoma

There are two types of glaucoma:

  • chronic – the most common, where the eye drainage channels slowly become blocked with age
  • acute – when there is a sudden blockage of the eye drainage system – this is painful and can cause permanent damage to sight if not treated promptly.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can develop glaucoma, but the risk increases with age. About 2% of New Zealanders over 40 years of age have glaucoma.

People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma.

This topic sheet was provided by Healthline.

Treatment

Treatment for glaucoma aims to reduce the pressure inside your eye and can include:

  • medicated eye drops
  • laser treatment, where a laser is used to remove blockages in the eye’s drainage channels
  • surgery to create a new channel to allow fluid to drain.

Prevention

Because the loss of vision is very gradual with glaucoma, you may not notice it until a lot of your peripheral vision is gone. So if you’re over 60, it’s a good idea to have regular eye checks with an optometrist. The check for glaucoma is simple and painless.

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