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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma, a chronic eye condition, impacts the optic nerve, leading to vision problems. Situated at the back of the eye, the optic nerve facilitates the transmission of visual information to the brain. This condition entails progressive damage to the optic nerve, typically initiating with the gradual loss of peripheral (outer edge) vision. The primary factor influencing the optic nerve is elevated pressure within the eye. Such pressure elevation can stem from a blockage in the eye’s drainage channels, hindering the fluid’s outflow and resulting in its accumulation. Failure to detect and address this condition can result in progressive visual impairment and eventual blindness.

There are two main types of Glaucoma:

Risk Factors

In its earliest stages, glaucoma seldom exhibits symptoms, yet this phase represents the optimal period for treatment. Detection of this eye condition at its early stages relies on regular eye examinations, particularly for individuals at risk. While glaucoma can affect anyone, certain individuals face a heightened risk and necessitate more frequent evaluations by an eye specialist.

Major risk factors are:

If you meet one or more of these risk factors, it is wise to discuss the need for regular eye examinations with a doctor or specialist.

Being told that vision is affected by Glaucoma can turn the world upside down. When the first emotions subside, the knowledge that one is not alone may provide support. There are many people in the same situation, some who have just been diagnosed themselves and some who have been living with it for years.

Dealing with Glaucoma

Many people with glaucoma continue to do the things they have always done. If glaucoma is detected at an early stage, there is a good chance that there is still enough vision available, so that you can continue to do the activities that you have always done. If the condition is advanced, there is often still a little bit of vision. With the use of certain tools, it is still possible to continue doing the things one enjoys.

If you experience visual impairment as a result of glaucoma devices are available that can help with the tasks one is having difficulty with. These aids can provide support with tasks that require vision and can help you continue to lead a full and independent life.

Image view without and with glaucoma
Left: normal vision. Right: view with glaucoma

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of open angle glaucoma are:

The symptoms of closed-angle glaucoma are:

What can one expect?

Although optic nerve damage and vision loss due to glaucoma is irreversible, the eye condition can be controlled. There are treatments to restore ocular pressure and thus limit further damage to the optic nerve and increasing visual impairment. Treatments may involve the use of eye drops, laser treatment or surgery. Discuss the options with a doctor or eye specialist.

More information

Extensive information exists to inform you about the key aspects of this eye condition. This information aims to supplement rather than substitute the guidance provided by a doctor or eye specialist.

For more information, see:

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