Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of sight loss, affecting more than 500,000 in England and Wales, not including those who haven’t been diagnosed. If left untreated, it can cause complete loss of vision.
Glaucoma is a disease that affects your vision, and is caused from a build up of pressure within the eye. The eyeball contains aqueous humour, a fluid which is continuously produced by the eye, and any excess is drained through tubes. When the fluid doesn’t drain properly, the pressure will start to build up. This is known as intraocular pressure, which causes damage to the optic nerve(connects the eye to the brain) and nerve fibres from the retina(light sensitive nerve tissue at the back of the eyeball).
The most common type of Glaucoma, Chronic open-angle Glaucoma, affects every two in 100 people over the age of 40, and every five in 100 people over the age of 80. For those who have family members with Glaucoma, suffer from diabetes, over the age of 40 or are from African/Caribbean descent, you are at high risk, and should ensure you have regular eye tests.
Types of Glaucoma & Symptoms
There are four different types of Glaucoma
– Chronic open-angle Glaucoma
With Chronic Glaucoma, there aren’t any noticeable symptoms. The condition develops very slowly, and those affected by it won’t realize what’s happening because it starts with their peripheral vision (side vision). It then works itself towards the centre, and it’s only when it’s advanced, will you know you have glaucoma. Chronic glaucoma is treated with eye drops, which are prescribed based on how far along the condition has affected you, if you have any other conditions, take any other medications or if you suffer side affects from the drops. You also have the option for tablets which have side affects, laser treatments if the eye drops aren’t working, and surgery if all other options aren’t helping
– Acute angle-closure Glaucoma
Acute Glaucoma develops quickly, with severe symptoms such as Intense pain, redness of the eye, headaches, tender eye area, seeing halos around lights; misty vision & loss of vision in one or both your eyes. You may feel sick from some of these symptoms. The symptoms aren’t constant, and you’ll only have them for an hour or two before disappearing. Every time the symptoms come back, they damage your vision a little more. The treatments for Acute Glaucoma are the same as Chronic Glaucoma.
– Secondary Glaucoma
Secondary Glaucoma is caused from other conditions, eye injuries or treatments such as operations and medication, which’ll cause a rise in eye pressure. The symptoms of glaucoma can be confused with the condition that caused the rise of pressure e.g. Uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye) caused headaches and painful eyes, but you’ll have the standard symptoms such as misty vision and rings/halos around lights.
– Developmental Glaucoma
Developmental Glaucoma is very rare, and difficult to diagnose the symptoms, due to the age of your child. Your child may show symptoms such as
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery Eyes
- Jerky movements of the eyes
- Large and cloudy cornea.
- having a squint
If you notice any of these, make sure you visit your O