Henry Smith and Hamylton, Opticians since 1887

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HEALTH & EYECARE - GLAUCOMA

Health & Eyecare - Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease there may be no symptoms.

The common feature of these diseases is damage to the optic nerve, usually accompanied by an abnormally high pressure inside your eyeball.
The optic nerve is a bundle of more than a million nerve fibers at the back of your eye. It’s like an electric cable made up of thousands of individual wires carrying the images from the inside back wall of your eyeball (retina) to your brain. Blind spots develop in your visual field when the optic nerve deteriorates, usually starting with your peripheral (side) vision. If left untreated, glaucoma may lead to blindness in both eyes.

Fortunately, medical advances have made it easier to diagnose and treat glaucoma. If detected and treated early, glaucoma need not cause even moderate vision loss but having glaucoma does mean regular monitoring and treatment for the rest of your life. Those most likely at risk include those of increasing age and a family history of glaucoma. It is more common in Afro-Caribbean people. It is also suggested that diabetes increases the risk of developing glaucoma.

Detecting glaucoma

It is important to perform a screen test to detect glaucoma before loss of vision occurs. An optometrist can do these tests during an eye examination as mentioned in ‘Your sight test explained’. If you are aged 40+ and glaucoma runs in the family you are entitled to free sight examination.

When checking for glaucoma the Optometrist will look at the back of the eye using an ophthalmoscope, measure both eye pressures and check your field of vision.

If you are found to have signs of glaucoma we will refer you to an ophthalmologist for confirmation and treatment.

Treatment

Eye drops usually form the first stage of treatment for glaucoma. There are now a wide variety of eye drops which work in a number of different ways. There are also a variety of types of surgery for glaucoma depending on the individual needs of the patient.