What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve of the eye, and can result in loss of vision and blindness.
Glaucoma can be classified into two main type’s:
- Open angle Glaucoma
- Closed angle Glaucoma
The dangerous aspect of this disease is that most of the time the patient has no idea he or she has glaucoma (until it is too late and there is permanent loss of vision that is noticeable to the patient!).
The only way of knowing you have glaucoma is by being tested by an eye specialist. Lots of things have to be looked at by the eye specialist to come to a diagnosis of glaucoma. Tests like ocular pressure, fundus examination and OCT (special camera) plus visual fields checking your peripheral vision need to be performed.
Often the patient with glaucoma can use eye drops to lower the pressure. You will most likely have your pupils dilated by eye drops by your specialist so make sure you go with another person who can drive you home!
Sometimes ALT or SLT lasers can treat glaucoma for a few years or permanently. It depends on each individual and your doctors opinion.
Surgery is often the third line of treatment as less invasive methods are usually preferred initially.
Remember if you have a family history of glaucoma you need a specialist to see you every year after the age of 40. If no family history, a test every year is not a bad idea but every 2 years is probably fine after age 40.