Glaucoma is a word that you have probably heard many times when it comes to the eye area, yet do you actually know what it is and what symptoms it causes?

More common in those aged over 70, Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up inside the eye due to fluid, damaging the optic nerve and hence causing diminishing vision. Other more at-risk groups include those with diabetes as well as people of African, Caribbean or Asian descent. If there is somebody in your family that suffers from Glaucoma, you may have an increased risk of developing it too.

Symptoms of Glaucoma can be slow to develop, especially as it is the peripheral side vision that is commonly affected first, and this causes less obvious sight problems.

Of course, going to your optician on a regular basis is always recommended and for those that keep up with their appointments, that test that looks at the pressure in your eye is the one that helps the optometrist to detect signs of the condition. And when it is caught early, this can play a positive part in ensuring that eyesight and good vision are retained.

There are different types of Glaucoma, for example, Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma, Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma and Secondary Glaucoma, each with a slightly differing set of symptoms, recommended treatments and predicted outcomes. There is also Congenital Glaucoma, a rare variant that is found in new born babies.

To treat Glaucoma, pressure must be reduced in the eye. This is normally done via eyedrops and so is a relatively easy and pain-free treatment option. Further treatments are sometimes considered, being either laser surgery that looks to either lessen the production of fluid in the eye or unblock drainage tubes that are causing pressure, or surgery that improves overall fluid drainage in the eye area.

Whilst there is no way of restoring lost vision caused by Glaucoma after diagnosis, the treatments that are available are normally very helpful in ensuring that the current level of eyesight is maintained, meaning that having Glaucoma should not cause any further eyesight issues.