Look and learn about glaucoma
Post on 13th March 2023
Did you know that glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness but it can be treated if detected and treated early enough?
At Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, we have over 80 years of experience helping people care for their eye health, including conditions such as glaucoma. Unfortunately, most types of glaucoma have no symptoms and it tends to develop gradually over many years. The vision lost cannot be restored so early diagnosis and treatment is needed, underlining the importance of regular eye check-ups.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where the optic nerve becomes damaged, resulting in sight loss. It is caused when pressure builds up inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. It affects more than half a million people in the UK alone.
Who is most at risk?
Although it can affect all ages, it is most common in people in their 70s and 80s and there is a higher risk for those with a family history of glaucoma, as well as with people of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage. Short-sightedness, long-sightedness and diabetes can also play a part.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Glaucoma does not usually cause any symptoms to begin with. Because it tends to develop slowly over many years and affects the edges of your vision (peripheral vision) first, many people do not realise they have glaucoma. It’s often only picked up during a routine eye test.
If you do notice any symptoms, they might include blurred vision, or seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights. Both eyes are usually affected, although it may be worse in one eye.
Very occasionally however, glaucoma can develop suddenly and cause the following:
- intense eye pain
- nausea and vomiting
- a red eye
- a headache
- tenderness around the eyes
- seeing rings around lights
- blurred vision
If this happens suddenly, you should go to your nearest eye casualty unit or hospital A&E as soon as possible.
What are the tests and treatment for glaucoma?
Glaucoma can usually be detected during a routine eye test at your opticians, often before it causes any noticeable symptoms. It is recommended that you have a routine eye test at least every two years. Treatment will depend on the type of glaucoma diagnosed but the options are:
- eyedrops – to reduce the pressure in your eyes
- laser treatment – to open up the blocked drainage tubes or reduce the production of fluid in your eyes
- surgery – to improve the drainage of fluid
Who can I turn to for help with glaucoma?
If you found this blog useful, you may also be interested in learning about eye floaters – what are they and what should you do if you have them?