Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. If left untreated it can cause significant loss of vision. The most common type of glaucoma is caused by a build up of the aqueous humour fluid in the front section of the eyeball.
How is glaucoma treated?
Eye drops are the main treatment, but sometimes laser treatment or surgery is required to control the intra-ocular fluid pressure. It is important to detect glaucoma as early as possible because any loss of vision cannot be reversed. The aim of treatment is to control the condition and reduce any loss of vision in the future.
What causes glaucoma?
If the fluid in the front of the eye (the 'anterior chamber') is unable to drain properly, the intra-ocular pressure can build up. You may not be aware that the pressure is building up, so it is important to have your eyes examined regularly to ensure that any rise in eye pressure is detected as early as possible. Glaucoma is often age-related, tends to run in families and is more common in people of black-African or black-Caribbean origin.
What types of glaucoma are there?
The most common type is called 'chronic open-angle glaucoma' and tends to develop quite slowly. 'Primary angle-closure glaucoma' is rarer and can develop slowly ('chronic') or rapidly ('acute'). 'Secondary glaucoma' sometimes occurs as a result of injury or following another eye condition such as uveitis. Finally, 'developmental glaucoma' sometimes occurs in very young children due to an abnormality in the structure of the eye.