What is glaucoma?

According to a recent study by the National Eye Research Centre, glaucoma will affect 3.2 million people in the UK by 2050. But what is it? Many people will have heard of the condition but few actually know what it is, unless they suffer with it or know someone that does.

To help you understand more about glaucoma, in this blog our Harrow opticians will talk all about the condition. Read on for further information…

So what exactly is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused when the optic nerve from your eye to the brain gets damaged. Causes usually include fluid building up behind the eye, which causes pressure as fluid is not able to drain properly. The increase in pressure then damages the optic nerve. Unfortunately, if the condition doesn’t get diagnosed and treated early it can lead to sight loss. Glaucoma can happen at any age, but people in their 70’s and 80’s are more likely to be at risk, as well as those from certain ethnic backgrounds. It’s not clear whether anything can be done to prevent glaucoma, however, regular eye test should be able to pick it up as early as possible.

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

It’s tricky, as to begin with, there are no real symptoms, glaucoma develops over time with it mainly affecting the peripheral vision first. It’s often only picked up with an eye test, so many people don’t know they have glaucoma until they visit their opticians for a routine check-up.

There are a couple of symptoms to watch out for, which include blurred vision or rainbow coloured circles around bright lights. Both eyes are usually affected, but it is more likely, to be worse in one of them.

Occasionally, glaucoma can develop suddenly causing nausea, vomiting, intense eye pain, headaches, eye tenderness and seeing rings around lights. It’s always best to get medical advice or visit your local opticians if you’re concerned about your vision. Glaucoma treatment can stop your vision getting worse if it’s caught early enough, however, if left untreated it can lead to blindness.

Is there just one type of glaucoma?

No, there are actually 4 different types, but the most common is called primary open-angle glaucoma. It tends to develop slowly over a number of years and is caused by the drainage channels in the eyes becoming clogged. By 2050, there is set to be 3.2 million Brits affected by glaucoma, according to research conducted by the National Eye Research Centre. Of this number, it is estimated that only 1.28 million people will be diagnosed and receiving the treatment that they need.

At Parker and Hammond, we’re proud to offer you regular eye check-ups, as well as advanced glaucoma-screening tests. Book your appointment at our Harrow or Northwood branch today, and our friendly team will be more than happy to help. For further information on glaucoma visit: https://bit.ly/2IcOqyP