Glaucoma is characterised by a progressive build-up of pressure inside the eyeball which causes gradual but permanent damage to the optic nerve – the main nerve of the eye, resulting in loss of vision. It can occur in one eye, but more usually both eyes. There are many types of glaucoma but the most common is the gradual or chronic from of the disease.
In most cases, glaucoma is associated with higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye — a condition called ocular hypertension. But it can also occur when intraocular pressure (IOP) is normal. If untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma first causes peripheral vision loss and eventually can lead to blindness.
Generally you don’t as usually there are no symptoms. As the optic nerve starts to become damages it causes small gaps in your field of vision – the area which you can see around you, but in the early stages you will not realise this is happening. Chronic glaucoma is rare under the age of 40 years but the risk increases as you get older, especially if you are over 65 years. There is an increased risk if somebody in the family also has glaucoma. It could be picked up by pressure in your eyes.
If the condition is picked up early enough and is carefully treated there is little like hood of losing your sight. If left untreated the optic nerves become progressively damaged and the area which you can see around you becomes smaller and smaller and eventually could result in complete loss of sight.
No, but it can be treated. Any loss of sight that has already occurred cannot be restored but treatment should prevent it from getting worse.
The aim is to lower the pressure within the eye back to normal. The usual form of treatment is with eye drops. It is vital that you do not run out of the drops or forget to put them in otherwise the pressure may go up causing further damage. If the pressure cannot be controlled then another type of drop is added or a small operation may be necessary.
Macular Degeneration causes loss of central vision and is the leading cause of registered vision impairment for people over 50 in the western world If you a family member or friend have been recently diagnosed you should read more the condition here.