Glaucoma is a term that describes a group of eye conditions that affect vision. Glaucoma often affects both eyes, usually in varying degrees. One eye may develop glaucoma quicker than the other.
Glaucoma occurs when the drainage tubes (trabecular meshwork) within the eye become slightly blocked. This prevents eye fluid (aqueous humour) from draining properly.
When the fluid cannot drain properly, pressure builds up. This is called intraocular pressure. This can damage the optic nerve (which connects the eye to the brain) and the nerve fibres from the retina (the light-sensitive nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye).
There are four main types of glaucoma:
Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, laser treatment or surgery. However, early diagnosis is important because any damage to the eyes cannot be reversed. Treatment aims to control the condition and minimise future damage.
If left untreated, glaucoma can cause visual impairment. But if it is diagnosed and treated early enough, further damage to vision can be prevented.
Attending regular optician appointments will help to ensure any signs of glaucoma can be detected early and allow treatment to begin.