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Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed.
In most people this damage is due to an increased pressure inside the eye – a result of a blockage of the fluid in the back of the eye. In other patients the damage may be caused by poor blood supply to the vital optic nerve fibres, a weakness in the structure of the nerve, and/or a problem in the health of the nerve fibres themselves.
Over 300,000 Australians have glaucoma. While it is more common as people age, it can occur at any age.
Often you will not be aware that you have glaucoma until it is too late. Usually there are no symptoms until permanent damage has occurred. In some cases the increased pressure in the eye will cause blurred vision, apparent coloured rings around lights, loss of side vision, and pain and redness of the eye.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type. It has no symptoms until eye sight is lost at a later stage. Damage progresses very slowly and destroys vision gradually, starting with the side vision. One eye covers for the other, and the person remains unaware of any problem until a majority of nerve fibres have been damaged, and a large part of vision has been destroyed. This damage is irreversible.
At Masons Eyecare we use advanced techniques for assessing the risk of glucoma utilising imaging of the nerve fibres at the back of the eye, examining the eye’s drainage network, intraocular pressure testing and visual field assesments to map peripheral vision. These tests are simple and painless.
Glaucoma is referred to as the silent theif of sight. Treatment cannot recover what has been lost. But it can arrest, or at least slow down the process. That is why it is so important to detect the problem as early as possible.