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Glaucoma & Ocular Hypertension

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The challenge with glaucoma lies in the fact that symptoms typically manifest when it’s nearly too late for treatment. Peripheral vision loss is an early indicator, detectable during routine eye tests conducted by optometrists, therefore it is crucial you undergo regular eye health assessments with your designated optometrist.

One uncommon type of glaucoma, known as acute angle closure, can start with a sudden and painful build-up of pressure. This is an ophthalmic emergency and may be accompanied with a lot of pain and blurred vision; it is preventable and can be treated. If you ever experience symptoms like these, seek help straight away from your optometrist, registered eye clinic or casualty department.

The eyes produce a fluid called aqueous humour, which normally drains away, maintaining consistent pressure. If drainage is impeded, ocular hypertension, or raised eye pressure, can occur. Glaucoma arises when this pressure damages the optic nerve, causing changes in vision.

In the case of acute angle-closure glaucoma, a sudden rise in pressure can result from a blockage in the eye’s draining system, often observed in individuals who are long-sighted or have smaller-sized eyes.

Glaucoma Image
Eye Drops

Your optometrist conducts various tests during regular eye exams to identify potential signs of glaucoma, including eye pressure checks, field of vision assessments, and optic nerve health evaluations. If glaucoma is suspected, you’ll be referred for further diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan.

Treatment for glaucoma varies and may involve monitoring, eye drops, or, in some cases, surgery.

Eye DropsSpecialist eye drops are a common treatment, aiding in reducing eye pressure and preventing further damage. Regular check-ups with an ophthalmologist ensure effective monitoring.
Laser Treatment (SLT)Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is recommended in early glaucoma cases. This non-invasive procedure uses light pulses to assist fluid drainage, potentially eliminating the need for eye drops.
Surgery (Trabeculectomy)In rare cases, surgery may be required. Trabeculectomy, the most common surgical procedure, aims to reduce eye pressure. Your consultant will guide you through the process if surgery is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is glaucoma?Chevron

    Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where the eye pressure is too high for your eyes and can cause nerve damage and over a longer-term period visual loss which is irreversible. Don’t worry, glaucoma is generally picked up early by your optometrists and treated by a doctor, so significant visual loss is unusual.

  • There are several tests that help us diagnose glaucoma. Even then, the results may not be able to 100% diagnose glaucoma. The core tests are:

    • A visual acuity test.
    • A measure of the thickness of your cornea, called a pachymetry.
  • Generally, the eye tests are undertaken by an optician or technician/nurse and these are then available for the doctor to review. You will be informed of the outcome of the tests within the next week or will be seen by the doctor at appointments.

  • As for any eye appointments, we would recommend that you do not drive. It may be that the doctor decides not to put in dilating drops but we often can’t decide that until the day of the consultation.

  • Glaucoma is a lifelong condition and, as such, you will be treated and monitored for life. This is often not too intrusive other than eye drops daily and then appointments every 6 to 12 months.

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