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Glaucoma and Your Eyes

There are many eye conditions that can affect your vision and eye health in different ways. One of these common conditions is Glaucoma, which affects around 60 million people worldwide.

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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that causes sight loss due to damage of the optic nerve. Unfortunately damage to the optic nerve cannot be reversed, which is why it is important to detect and treat glaucoma as early as possible.

What Is The Cause Of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is usually linked with high eye pressure, although it can occur in people with normal eye pressure.

There are 5 main types of glaucoma, each of which has a slightly different cause.

· Primary open angle glaucoma is the most common type and is associated with older age and people of Afro-Caribbean descent. This type of glaucoma develops slowly and occurs when the eye’s drainage channels gradually become blocked.

· Closed angle glaucoma occurs when eye pressure rises very suddenly, causing acute damage to the optic nerve.

· Secondary glaucoma usually occurs due to another factor within the body such as side affects from medication or an underlying eye condition or eye injury.

· Normal tension glaucoma is diagnosed even though eye pressure is normal.

· Childhood glaucoma is present from birth due to abnormalities in the eye.

What Are The Symptoms Of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma develops slowly and often without any symptoms at all. Symptoms may be noticed when damage has already occurred. Symptoms that can occur include:

· Blurry and reduced peripheral vision.

· Rings and rainbow coloured circles appearing around bright lights.

· Quick onset of severe eye pain, along with redness or tenderness around the eye, headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

How Do You Diagnose Glaucoma?

Glaucoma can be diagnosed following routine eye examinations. An eye examination with OCT can measure numerous features of the back of the eye and facilitate an early diagnosis of glaucoma.

An eye pressure test will also be performed, along with an examination of the front of the eye by the Optometrist to asses if there are any blockages.

If glaucoma is suspected, patients will be referred to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis and asses any damage to the eyes.

How Do You Treat Glaucoma?

Treating glaucoma is done by managing the underlying issues to prevent any further damage to the optic nerve. The main treatments for glaucoma are:

· Eye drops that improve fluid drainage or reduce the amount of fluid being produced in the eye.

· Laser treatment is a common treatment for glaucoma to help lower eye pressure.

Unfortunately sight loss from glaucoma is irreversible. Having regular eye examinations at the recommended intervals allows the optometrists to monitor your eye health and identify any changes that may occur.

If you feel you have noticed any symptoms or changes in your vision, or it has been a while since you have had an eye examination please call your local MKO to book an appointment.

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