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How Glaucoma affects the eyes

Glaucoma is a disease that affects the eyes and can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. It is caused by damage to the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain and typically affects peripheral vision in its earlier stages.

While it is associated with increased pressure inside the eye, glaucoma also often occurs in eyes with ‘normal’ eye pressures.

There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type and develops gradually over time. It often has no symptoms in the early stages, so regular eye exams are important to detect it early. Angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, is less common but can develop suddenly with symptoms such as severe eye pain, headache, and blurry vision.

While anyone can develop open-angle glaucoma, certain factors increase the risk, including age, family history of glaucoma, high eye pressure, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, in the vast majority of cases treatment can help slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. First-line treatment options involve lowering the eye pressure with eye drops or laser. There is also a range of effective surgical treatments available if the first-line treatments are not working as well as required.

It’s important to remember that glaucoma is a chronic disease that requires ongoing management. Regular eye exams and early detection are crucial in managing the disease and preserving your vision and quality of life. Even if your vision seems fine, it’s critical to keep up with routine eye checks as recommended to detect any changes in your eye health.

If you have any concerns about your eye health or are at risk for glaucoma, speak to your local optometrist or ophthalmologist.

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