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GLAUCOMA

THE SILENT CAUSE OF BLINDNESS

WHAT IS GLAUCOMA

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is essential for good vision. This damage is often caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision and is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. However, blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.

Glaucoma is often not picked up until there is irreversible damage to your vision. This is why it’s essential to have regular eye tests, especially if you have a family history of Glaucoma. There are 3 main types of Glaucoma and these are:

  • Open-Angle Glaucoma: The most common form, where the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should, much like a clogged drain, leading to a gradual increase in eye pressure. This type of glaucoma develops slowly and is a lifelong condition.

  • Angle-Closure Glaucoma: This type occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris. As a result, fluid can’t circulate through the eye and pressure increases abruptly. It is considered a medical emergency and can cause blindness if not treated promptly.

  • Normal-Tension Glaucoma: In this condition, the optic nerve becomes damaged even though the eye pressure is within the normal range. The exact reason for optic nerve damage in normal-tension glaucoma is not yet fully understood.

Child undergoing eye test at optometrists

HOW CAN GLAUCOMA BE TREATED?

Glaucoma treatment focuses on lowering the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure) to prevent further optic nerve damage. Treatments include:

  • Medications: Eye drops are often the first step in treating glaucoma. These can help reduce eye pressure by improving fluid drainage or by decreasing the amount of fluid the eye makes.

  • Laser Treatment: For open-angle glaucoma, laser treatment can help fluid drain out of the eye. For angle-closure glaucoma, it can create a hole in the iris to improve fluid drainage.

  • Surgery: Various surgical procedures can create a new drainage channel for the eye fluid to leave the eye, reduce fluid production, or remove tissue to allow better fluid drainage.

Early detection through regular eye exams is crucial because symptoms often don’t appear until significant damage has occurred. Treatment can slow or prevent further vision loss but is not able to restore vision already lost to glaucoma.

HOW CAN OUR OPTOMETRISTS DETECT GLAUCOMA?

At Abra & Co. Opticians, we understand your eyes are precious. We perform over 12 different assessments of your eye health to analyse and understand exactly what your eye health looks like. Our Optometrists will check and measure your anterior angle, the intraocular pressures with an accurate machine and examine the back of your eyes with both a direct ophthalmoscope and with a special lens called a Volk lens. This allows us to have a look at the back of your eyes in 3D so we can understand the shape of your optic disc, the size, colour and C/D Ratio – all these are important metrics when checking the eye health. 

We then also take a photograph of the back of your eyes as well as doing an OCT scan. The photograph allows us to compare each eye and pick up any differences. We’re also able to add different coloured filters to assss your eye health in even greater depth. We then use our OCT machine to assess your corneal thickness and anterior chamber too. This is done for all routine eye tests as standard.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU IF YOU HAVE GLAUCOMA?

By making sure that you are under the hospital regularly, and having regular eye tests. Many of our patients feel they can ask our Optometrists questions far more openly and receive the advice they need, instead of asking their Consultants at the hospital. 

Your vision is precious so we go through every step in a detailed, methodical way to give you the best vision possible that helps protect your sight.

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