Glaucoma – the thief of sight

11 March 2019

This week is World Glaucoma Week (10-16 March). With this in mind we spoke to our highly experienced ophthalmologist, Mr Manuchehri, about glaucoma, its symptoms and treatment options.

Mr Manuchehri states:

“Glaucoma is the condition where increased intra-ocular pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain.

"There are two main types of glaucoma; open angle glaucoma and narrow angle glaucoma."

Open angle glaucoma

"By far the most common type of glaucoma is open angle glaucoma, which is completely asymptomatic. This is where slightly increased intra-ocular pressures (normal intra-ocular pressure is considered to be between 6-21 mmHg) over a long period of time can cause damage to the optic nerve. The chance of developing this type of glaucoma is more, if you have a first degree relative who suffers with it.

"The only way to detect this type of glaucoma is by performing repeated intra-ocular pressures checks, visual field tests and assessing to see if there is any damage to optic nerve. Open angle glaucoma usually starts around age 50 and gets worse over time. It usually progresses slowly and if detected early, the progression can be stopped to avoid further damage to the visual fields.

"The treatment is to lower the intra-ocular pressure of that eye, either by using drops, or by special laser treatment or by surgery.”

Narrow angle glaucoma

“Narrow angle glaucoma is much less common. In narrow angle glaucoma the intra-ocular pressure can suddenly shoot up to 50-60mmHg or more, giving rise to symptoms which can include seeing halos around lights, headaches, nausea, vomiting, severe eye pain and loss of vision. At this intra-ocular pressure, the blood supply to the eye is cut off resulting in severe loss of vision and if left untreated, results in blindness in as little as a few hours.

"Timely and suitable treatment can stop the thief walking away with your sight. This type of glaucoma would normally be treated with a special laser which makes a new drain hole in the coloured part of the eye and this usually reduces the intra-ocular pressure.

“Early signs of glaucoma will be picked up at your routine eye test, so it is important to stay on top of these and have them at least once every year and more frequently if you have a first degree relative who suffers with glaucoma of either form. Be warned that glaucoma usually affects both eyes, although it may be worse is one than the other.”

If you’re worried about your sight, or have been advised by your optician to see an ophthalmologist for further checks, please do not hesitate to contact our team for an appointment with a specialist ophthalmologist such as Mr Manuchehri.

Please call 01582 714 420 and advise the team member you speak to if you have private medical insurance or are paying for your consultations and treatment yourself.

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