Glaucoma – “the sneak thief of sight”
Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is situated at the back of the eye and takes all the information to the brain. The optic nerve is like a fibre-optic cable containing a million wires or fibres. Glaucoma is when there is damage to theses fibres.
Glaucoma can be severe and result in blindness. Fortunately treatment today has reduced the risk significantly.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
Most people don’t know that they have glaucoma and it is only picked up at a routine examination. If a family member has glaucoma, there is a much higher risk of developing glaucoma too. This is why it is very important for people with glaucoma to let other family members know.
How is glaucoma diagnosed?
The diagnosis of glaucoma is made by a dilated examination and often additional testing such as a field test and OCT. Often people think of glaucoma as high intraocular pressures but over 50% of people with glaucoma have normal intraocular pressures.
What is the treatment for glaucoma?
The treatment of glaucoma involves reducing the intraocular pressure. Even if the pressure measurement is normal in the beginning, the preassure still need to reduce the pressure by about 30%. The pressure can be reduced using eyedrops or laser. The treatment is considered lifelong and a person needs to be monitored every 6 to 12 months. Sometimes the pressure is not adequately reduced with drops or laser and then surgery is required.