What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition in which the nerve of sight, (the optic nerve) has become damaged. This is usually because of increased pressure within the eye. The damage is permanent and initially destroys the off centre part of your vision – your peripheral vision. Sight will continue to deteriorate and eventually, if the condition is not treated, blindness will result. Chronic glaucoma is the most common form of the condition and has no symptoms and causes no pain. This means that by the time you are able to notice a difference to your vision, some sight may already have been permanently lost.

  • Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK.
  • Approximately 67 million people world-wide are likely to be affected, this year.
  • In the UK, it is estimated that there are 500,000 cases of glaucoma, 250,000 of these are cases of chronic glaucoma.
  • 125,000 of these chronic glaucoma cases are undiagnosed.

Who is at risk?
  • Anyone over the age of 40
  • Anyone with a history of glaucoma in the family
  • People with diabetes
  • People who are very short sighted
  • People of African-Caribbean origin

How can glaucoma be detected?

Regular visits to an optometrist (optician) are essential to ensure there are no hidden problems such as glaucoma creeping up behind you. Ask your optician for all three glaucoma tests when you next have an eye health check. The three tests are Opthalmoscopy (viewing the optic disc with a special torch), Perimetry (assessing the field of vision) and Tonometry (measuring the eye pressure) – OPT. If your optometrist is not willing or is unable to perform all three tests, find an optometrist who will.

Information Courtesy of:
International Glaucoma Association
108C Warner Road
Camberwell
London SE5 9HQ

Email: info@iga.org.uk
Telephone: 020 7737 3265
Fax:020 7346 5929
For more detailed information on glaucoma and the IGA, visit the IGA website:
International Glaucoma Association

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