- What is glaucoma?
It is a group of diseases that result in damage to the main nerve of the eye responsible for vision- the optic nerve. This nerve is located at the back of the eye.
- How does this damage occur?
Damage occurs when there is poor drainage of the fluid (aqueous humor) in front of the eye, causing pressure to be transmitted backwards to the back of the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve.
- Who is likely to have glaucoma?
Anybody can have glaucoma- babies, young people, older adults. However, it is more common in:
- older adults who are 40 years or older
- people of African origin
- people who have a family member that has glaucoma
- How do I know whether or not I have glaucoma?
Glaucoma usually does not have any symptom till the advanced stage. This is why it is known as "the silent thief of sight". It also affects the peripheral or side vision first, so vision loss may not be evident initially.
In the late stage, a person that has glaucoma may bump into objects while walking, experience blurring of vision or see coloured rings around light, and his vision may be described as "tunnel-like".
The end point of untreated glaucoma is blindness.
Your best bet is to have regular comprehensive eye checks by an ophthalmologist.
- Can glaucoma be cured?
There is currently no cure for glaucoma. Management is lifelong.
- How can glaucoma be managed?
Glaucoma can be managed with drugs, surgery or laser. Discuss with your ophthalmologists about the best option for you.
The aim of management is to prevent further damage and vision loss.
- Is blindness from glaucoma reversible?
Unfortunately, any vision lost as a result of glaucoma cannot be regained. The key to management is early detection and treatment.