The optic nerve in our eye collects all of the information from the retina about what the eye can see and carries it to the brain. Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions where this optic nerve becomes damaged.
There are a number of different types of Glaucoma. The most common is called “Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma” and means that over time the pressure in our eyes rises. There is no pain or symptoms to this type of Glaucoma but the field of vision gradually becomes impaired. Another type is “Acute Closed Angle Glaucoma” which happens suddenly when there is a complete blockage to the outflow of fluid from the eye. As a consequence to this, the pressure builds up very quickly, is quite painful and can cause permanent damage to the eye.
Glaucoma is more common in people over the age of 40 years. You are at an increased risk if you have an immediate family member with Glaucoma, if you are of African origin or have a high degree of short sightedness.
An Eye Examination is crucial at least every two years as you may not develop symptoms of Glaucoma until lasting damage has been done. Those who are over 40 and have an immediate family member with Glaucoma will be eligible for an NHS funded examination once a year.
Our Optometrist will examine the optic nerve to see if it appears damaged. They will measure the pressure of the eyes and, if appropriate may also measure your visual field. At Brownbills we also offer additional supplementary tests that you can opt to take advantage of privately if you wish. These help in the detection of Glaucoma and include Fundus Photography, Pachymetry, Gonioscopy and Applanation Tonometry.
A leaflet, containing more information about Glaucoma is available from the practice.