Optic Nerve Conditions
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease characterised by typical optic nerve damage and concomitant visual field loss.
The most common form of glaucoma, Primary Open Angle Glaucoma, occurs mainly in persons 40 years of age and older. It tends to run in families, is more common in diabetics and near-sighted individuals and is characterised by increased intraocular pressure. Other forms of glaucoma may be congenital or secondary to inflammation, injury or other diseases of the eye.
Signs and Symptoms
Glaucoma normally develops insidiously without early signs or symptoms.
Slowly progressive damage may only manifest much later as loss of peripheral or even central vision. On the contrary, the much less common Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma is normally diagnosed early due to sudden onset of blurred vision, pain, redness and sometimes nausea.
Glaucoma is best diagnosed or ruled out by thorough ophthalmological examination, particularly after age 40 and especially in the presence of near-sightedness, diabetes or a family history of glaucoma.
Treatment. If treated early and effectively, glaucomatous visual loss may be limited or halted. Initial treatment normally involves eye drops. Inadequate control may necessitate laser treatment or eventually surgical treatment.
Visual loss from glaucoma is usually irreversible and permanent. As timely medical or surgical intervention may effectively preserve vision, early and regular eye examination is most important.