Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions in which the pressure of fluid in the eyeball is abnormally high. When the pressure in the eye is higher than normal over a long period of time, the risk of pressure related damage significantly increases. Glaucoma is surprisingly common, affecting nearly 2% of the population over the age of 40. Most people have no actual eye symptoms when glaucoma is diagnosed.
The elevated pressure in the eye is detected as part of a routine examination by an ophthalmologist. Any loss of vision can be detected and monitored by examining the visual field (‘how much you see around you’).
Once the diagnosis of glaucoma is made, the eye pressure must be reduced to prevent damage to the sight. Although glaucoma usually cannot be cured, in most cases it can be successfully controlled with the proper treatment. Eye drops are the most common form of treatment. More than one type of drop may be needed to maintain a lower pressure. The control of the eye pressure needs to be monitored by an ophthalmologist as the effectiveness of treatment may reduce with time. Sometimes tablets are also used. Occasionally, laser and/or surgical procedures may be necessary.
More information can be sought from your ophthalmologist, by contacting the Glaucoma Foundation of Australia 1800 500 880 or view the following links: