This is an eye condition that causes irreversible damage to the eye and 50% of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it.

Did you know?

If someone in your immediate family has glaucoma, then you are 10 times more likely to develop it in your lifetime.

What causes it?

The optic nerve is made up of approximately one million nerve fibres which connect the back of the eye to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve will result in irreversible damage to your eyesight. Nerve damage can occur from lack of blood flow, eye pressure that is too high or malnourishment.

What are the symptoms?

The most common type of glaucoma occurs in 90% of cases called Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG). Unfortunately, there are no symptoms for this condition as the damage progresses so slowly and starts with the peripheral vision. The early vision loss often goes unnoticed until there is a significant amount of irreversible damage.

Another type of glaucoma, Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma, causes severe eye pain as well as associated nausea, vomiting and headaches. There may also be a sudden onset of blurry vision or seeing halos around light. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

How can I be checked?

Optiko optometrists will thoroughly assess your eyes for signs of glaucoma using instruments including

  • Tonometer. Historically this has been tested with the ‘puff of air’ test. At Optiko we now use an instrument that does not puff air into your eye. Instead, there is a very light ‘tickle’ sensation. Patients have remarked how much more comfortable this is.
  • Pachymeter. This will measure the thickness of the front window of the eye (cornea). A very thick or very thin cornea can affect the pressure readings.
  • Computerised Perimeter. Vision loss can be detected with this instrument. It involves testing each eye separately with an automated machine that flashes a series of lights in the periphery.
  • OCT (Ocular Coherence Tomographer). This instrument will measure the lining of the eye around the optic nerve which is an important marker in the assessment and diagnosis of early glaucoma.

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