Glaucoma is defined as a disease which causes damage to the optic nerve head and photoreceptors with resulting loss of visual field. If left undetected and untreated it can lead to blindness.
Glaucoma may develop because the intraocular pressure is raised above the normal level causing mechanical damage to the optic nerve head.
An eye exam with us will reveal your intra-ocular pressure using a non puff method and will establish the risk.
However Glaucoma can still develop at low and normal tensions so comprehensive optic nerve analysis is critical.
Where there is a family history of either type of glaucoma, there is a greater risk. Certain other ocular conditions such as inflammation, myopia, cataract diabetes , and use of certain medications can increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
The aqueous fluid helps maintain the eye at a consistent pressure, but if the drainage of this fluid becomes compromised a build-up of intra-ocular pressure will develop .
Where there is a family history of Angle Closure Glaucoma or Acute glaucoma we would strongly encourage you to have a scan of the anterior segment of the eye. We will grade the status of the angle between the cornea and iris, as it is within this structure that the drainage of aqueous takes place. A scan will immediately tell us if the angle is critically narrow and help us refer quickly for appropriate surgical treatment to prevent visual loss.
Our practitioners can monitor changes in pressure, changes in structure and changes in retinal sensitivity by measuring visual fields. We can build up a picture of disease progression over time.
Again ultrasound scanning technology gives us extra information, aiding early disease detection and progression as we can actually measure the retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and see it thinning over time.
Anyone suffering from glaucoma, anyone at risk of glaucoma, and anyone where there is a known family history of glaucoma will be called regularly for monitoring. As early disease is likely to be asymptomatic the uptake of recall is extremely important, and OCT scanning uptake highly recommended.
Glaucoma is very treatable and sight loss preventable if early detection is possible.