Lichfield Street Opticians in Wolverhampton

Caring for Wolverhampton’s eyes since 1863

01902 420348

Glaucoma

glaucoma afflicted optic discGlaucoma is a generic group of disorders characterised by progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of visual field, where raised eye pressure is a risk factor. It occurs primarily when the passages inside your eyes that work to drain the fluid in your eyes become damaged or blocked. This causes these excess fluids to build up, increasing the pressure inside your eye. This pressure, in turn, damages the optic nerve. As the optic nerve carries the visual information your eye sees to the brain, any damage here will hamper the transfer of information and cause a loss in vision.

It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, and its exact causes are not yet known and it cannot currently be prevented, although ongoing research is still being conducted. If it is detected earl and treated quickly, glaucoma can be controlled with little to no loss of vision. It is one of the main reasons for regular eye examinations and literally anyone can develop glaucoma regardless of age. However, there are some groups of people known to be at heightened risk of developing the condition:

  • People aged 40 and above
  • Those with a family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetic people
  • People with  stronger degree of short-sightedness
  • Afro-Caribbeans (especially those aged 35 or higher)

There are different types of glaucoma. The most common one is Open angle glaucoma, a slowly progressive disorder, which occurs in 1 in 200 people over 40 and accounts for 20% of people registered blind in the UK. It is more common among Afro-Caribbeans, and it can cause damage (even lead to blindness) much more rapidly than other people. Symptoms of open angle glaucoma are virtually non-existent until the disease is well established. It is not particularly painful and  has to be looked for. Therefore, regular eye tests that include glaucoma checks are important especially if you fall into one of the at-risk categories listed above.

Closed angle glaucoma is affects 1 in 1000 people over 40. Symptoms may start with coloured halos around lights, especially at night. Vision with GlaucomaThese may be followed by the onset of sudden severe pain in and around the eye, redness of the eye and rapid fall in vision. Emergency treatment is needed to bring down the pressure. This is then usually is followed by surgery.

Symptoms for glaucoma include:

  • Reduced vision
  • Haloes around lights
  • Loss of peripheral vision (‘tunnel’ vision; see image right)
  • Inability to adapt to dark easily
  • Headaches
A Tonometer - used to measure eye pressure
Eye pressures measured at Lichfield Street Opticians in Wolverhampton

Eye tests at Lichfield Street Opticians are in-depth and include, at no extra cost, the following checks that help to identify and track the progression of glaucoma:

  • Tonometry - a simple and painless test in which we send a small puff of air into your eye in order to take a measurement of the pressure inside your eye
  • Ophthalmoscopy - an examination of the back of the eye to observe the health of the optic nerve.
  • Fundus Digital Retinal Photography also allows us to observe and monitor the optic nerve as well as your retina
  • Visual Fields Test - a short test which identifies any abnormal blind spots you might have developed

Glaucoma is usually treated with medications such as eye drops. In some cases surgery may be necessary to reduce the pressure inside the eye to prevent damage. Unfortunately any damage caused by glaucoma cannot currently be restored as it is usually the optic nerve that is damaged. But early detection and monitoring through regular eye tests can enable you to carry on living a normal life.



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