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.What is glaucoma?

  • Glaucoma is a name which describes a group of diseases which cause the pressure within the eye (the IntraOcular Pressure) to become elevated to a point where it can damage the eye.
  • There are many types of glaucoma, but all of them can be classified as being either open-angle or closed-angle.
  • In Open-angle glaucoma, the transparent fluid inside the eye (Aqueous Fluid) cannot be drained quickly enough, because the drainage channels within the eye have become restricted.
  • In Closed-angle glaucoma, too much Aqueous Fluid is produced, and again the eye cannot drain the fluid quickly enough.
  • Both of these type of glaucoma have numerous causes such as high blood pressure, or infections within the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is often inherited from parents, although this is rarely the case with Closed-angle glaucoma.

Who suffers from Glaucoma?

Anyone can develop glaucoma, however, it is very rare in people under 45 years of age, and even then the condition is quite rare.

The people who run the highest risk of developing glaucoma, are people who:-

  • have a close blood relative who has suffered from glaucoma. (e.g. mother, father, sister or brother)

If you fall under any of these categories, it is vital that you have regular eye examinations.

If you suffer from Diabetes or have a close blood relation who suffers from glaucoma, or indeed if you have glaucoma yourself, you are entitled to a free NHS sight test, in the UK.

How is Glaucoma detected?

If you are over 45 years of age, your optician will often use an instrument called a Tonometor, at the end of the sight exam. This instrument takes a pressure reading from your eye by firing air at one eye at a time. The Optician then uses this reading to find the exact pressure within the eye.

If the Optician finds that the pressure is above normal, he or she will investigate further.

How is Glaucoma Treated?

Glaucoma can be treated easily, if detected early enough. The most common treatments involve drugs which are taken in the form of eye drops. These drugs will reduce the production of the transparent fluid within the eye. This relieves the pressure from within the eye and prevents damage caused by Glaucoma.

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For Further Information and support, you can contact us and take a look at these useful links:

International Glaucoma Association - A charity that offers advice and support for Glaucoma sufferers. Has over 14,500 members in 48 countries and campaigns for better detection methods for those at risk. Lots of information on glaucoma.

The CaF Directory- Glaucoma Support Group, a UK Based Site, working towards raising awareness of Glaucoma around the world.

Wills Glaucoma Service & Foundation To Prevent Blindness -An American based site, with a chat room for people with questions about Glaucoma, and weekly chats hosted by DR Rick Wilson, who is a specialist at the Jefferson school of medicine and the Vice president of the American Glaucoma Society

Glaucoma - Patient UK- This is a great resource site for people who suffer from Glaucoma, or are related to a Glaucoma sufferer.


Coping with Glaucoma By Edith Marks& Rita Montauredes (£11.99)

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