Glaucoma is a group of conditions in which the optic nerve is irreversibly damaged resulting in vision loss, if not treated early. One of the causative factors may be that the intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This is due to an accumulation of fluid (aqueous humour) at the front of the eye, either because there is too much, or because it’s not draining properly.

In primary open angle glaucoma (chronic), the symptoms are not usually noted initially although some blurring may be present. As the condition develops over many years, the peripheral vision starts to diminish. Risk factors include a direct relative with the condition, ethnicity and age with 10% of suffers being older than 75.

If closed angle (acute), a sudden rise in IOP tends to occur and the symptoms are more obvious. They might include:

  • Haloes (circles of light) or rainbows around lights
  • Blurred vision
  • Intense ocular pain
  • Headaches
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Red eye
  • Tenderness of the eye and surrounding area

Other types of glaucoma include:

  • Secondary glaucoma, due to another illness, eye condition or medication
  • Normal tension glaucoma, where the IOP is normal but damage to the optic nerve still occurs
  • Congenital glaucoma, present at birth due to an abnormality of the eye.

Treatment can be in the form of eye drops, laser or surgery.

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How may Glaucoma affect my vision