What is it?

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve of the eye. It is often caused by increased pressure in the eye. It may be an inherited condition and typically manifests later in life. It is recommended that if one has a family history of Glaucoma, a complete eye examination is undertaken annually.

The pressure within the eye – intraocular pressure – can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to your brain. If the damage continues, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss.

The pressure is caused when the fluid in your eye – the aqueous humour – does not circulate the way it should.

The aqueous humour normally flows out of your eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel gets blocked, the liquid builds up, causing Glaucoma. The reason for the blockage is unknown and it can be genetic.

Less common causes include a blunt or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, blocked blood vessels inside the eye and inflammatory conditions.

Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain.

There are no signs of Glaucoma until vision loss occurs.

How is it treated?

Glaucoma can be treated in three ways: through the use of prescription, eye drops, laser surgery, or microsurgery.

Eye drops reduce the formation of fluid in the eye or increase its outflow.

For people with open-angle glaucoma, laser surgery can stop the fluid blockage by slightly increasing the flow of the fluid from the eye.

In microsurgery, the doctor creates a new channel to drain the fluid and ease eye pressure.