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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of glaucoma

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Glaucoma is a disorder involving the eyes where vision becomes impaired due to increased pressure inside the eyes. This condition is mainly painless and gradually progressive. Unfortunately, management methods cannot reverse the eye damage already done but may prevent further deterioration.

Incidence, age and sex

Glaucoma is commonly seen in individuals above the age of 60 years. African-American individuals are more susceptible to glaucoma as compared to others. Moreover individuals with diabetes have high risk of developing glaucoma.

Signs and symptoms

Glaucoma can be of different types like open angle glaucoma, closed angle glaucoma and congenital glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma is the commonest of them all and characterised by progressive but painless loss of vision. Sometimes, complains like seeing halos around lights have also been documented. Vision impairment is characteristic with complains of loss of vision at outer edges of visual field. This kind of vision impairment wherein the central vision remains preserved is called ‘tunnel vision’.

Closed angle glaucoma is less commonly encountered in the general population and is characterised by the blurring of vision, redness and pain in the affected eye. This may be accompanied with nausea and vomiting.

Congenital glaucoma is an occasional occurrence and is present since birth. One or both eyes may be affected which show cloudiness. The affected eye also shows increased sensitivity to light.

The eye must be examined by an eye specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Tonometry is also performed which is a procedure to measure the intraocular pressure. Comprehensive dilated eye examination is mandatory to establish the diagnosis of glaucoma.

Causes and prevention

Glaucoma is a serious condition of the eye which results when normal fluid pressure in the eye rises above normal value. Persistent elevated pressure inside the eyes damages the optic nerve which is responsible for transmission of signals between the eyes and brain. Damage of optic nerve subsequently leads to vision impairment.

Several factors can lead to glaucoma like family history, diabetes, eye trauma, advanced cataract and advancing age. Congenital glaucoma is a genetic defect and is present since birth.

It is advisable to get regular eye examinations done after the age of 50 years. Moreover high risk individuals like hypertensives and diabetics are recommended to get their detailed eye examination done every 1 or 2 years. This will help in early detection and subsequent management of glaucoma and thereby prevent vision loss.

 Complications

Glaucoma, if left untreated, may lead to impairment of vision which may progress to complete loss of vision in the advanced stages.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for glaucoma treatment >

Moorfields Private

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Download our free 48 page PDF guide

Sponsored by Moorfields Private Eye Hospital

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Symptoms, diagnosis and causes of glaucoma
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