What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve at the back of the eye which carries information from the eye to the brain which affects the vision in a particular way.
The main risk factor is raised pressure in the eye and reducing the pressure remains the only validated treatment option for glaucoma.
What are the symptoms?
Glaucoma usually affects the peripheral vision first and may not be noticed until quite advanced and affecting central vision hence the importance of regular eye checks.
It is generally not painful unless the eye pressure is suddenly and significantly raised in certain subtypes of glaucoma.
How is it diagnosed?
Glaucoma diagnosis and monitoring requires a thorough examination including:
Intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement
Detailed examination of the eye using a slitlamp
Gonioscopy (assessing the drainage channel inside the eye)
Examination of the optic nerve and retina which usually requires dilating drops
Diagnosis and assessment of glaucoma also requires the use of specialised tests including:
Pachymetry (measuring the thickness of the cornea)
Visual field testing (assessing peripheral vision)
OCT imaging of the optic nerve
The need for different tests will be discussed at your appointment and will depend on whether they have been performed before and how long ago.
The mainstay of glaucoma treatment is lowering the pressure in the eye.
There are various ways of achieving this and the advantages and disadvantages of the options will be discussed with you in detail at your appointment.
In general the options are: