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Glaucoma / Raised Intraocular Pressure
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common condition which can affect people of all ages. It is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s but can also affect the young, including babies and children. Raised pressure within the eye can be a sign of glaucoma which is a condition that can damage the optic nerve and reduce the field of vision.
What causes it?
It is often unclear exactly what causes glaucoma. A blockage in the part of the eye that allows fluid to drain from it can lead to a build-up of fluid, increasing pressure in the eye and damaging the optic nerve.
Some things which can increase your risk include:
- Age – as we age the likelihood of developing glaucoma increases.
- Ethnicity – those of African, Asian or Caribbean origin have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
- Genetics – if a close relative (a parent or sibling) has the condition you are more likely to develop glaucoma.
What you may experience:
Often the eye pressures can be raised and damaging the field of vision before the patient notices any problems. The condition can develop slowly over many years and can initially cause a loss of peripheral vision (the outer edge of your vision).
Occasionally the eye pressure can rise rapidly causing severe eye pain and blurring. You may also experience a red eye, tenderness around the eye or seeing rings around lights.
Can it damage my eye sight?
The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated, the more positive the outlook. Regular eye exams are important for the early detection of the condition.
Glaucoma can result in some degree of permanent vision loss, a very small proportion of people may lose their sight. Glaucoma can affect your ability to do certain tasks (such as driving) but most people retain useful vision for life with early diagnosis and treatment.
What treatment is needed?
Treatments for glaucoma include:
- Eye drops – these are used to reduce the pressure in the eye.
- Laser treatment – to reduce the production of fluid in the eyes by unblocking drainage tubes.
- Surgery – for improved drainage of fluid from the eyes.
Who will I see for treatment?