What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a serious and painful eye condition, where the optic nerve becomes damaged.

It is a leading cause of irreversible blindness throughout the world. Of the projected 250,000 of people in the UK with glaucoma, it is estimated that only half of those have been detected and diagnosed.

The optic nerve connects your eye to your brain, so if it gets damaged in even a minor way, it can lead to loss of vision. The general cause of glaucoma is fluid build-up, it develops over a period of years, and generally doesn’t cause any symptoms to start with. This fluid build-up causes pressure on the optic nerve, which is why is can be so serious.

Due of the lack of symptoms in the early stages, the only way glaucoma can be picked up is through a routine eye test. There are some symptoms that can show in the later stages of glaucoma. However, if glaucoma is caught in the early stages, then treatment can prevent your vision getting worse.

Signs to look out for:

  • Blurred vision
  • The appearance of rainbow colours when you look at bright lights
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Nausea
  • Red eye
  • Migraine
  • Eye soreness

If you receive a number of these symptoms, then book an appointment with us and we can check your eyes.  When you come for you appointment we carry out 3 tests:

  1. We look at the back of your eye and the optic nerve with a bright light [ophthalmoscope]
  2. We measure the pressure [often called the puffer test]. A raised pressure at this stage does not necessarily mean you have glaucoma.
  3. We carry out a ‘Field of Vision’ test where we ask you to look at a screen with a series of spots of light and you will be asked which ones you can see.

What can cause Glaucoma?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do to prevent glaucoma.  And you need to be aware that certain demographic groups have an increased risk of glaucoma. These include:

  • Old age
  • Ethnicity: African, Caribbean or Asian ethnicities
  • Family history: You are at a higher risk if your immediate family members have suffered with the condition

Are there any treatments for Glaucoma?

There are eye drops that we can prescribed to treat glaucoma and lessen the effects. For many people this treatment is all they will need. However, it is a life-long treatment.   In worst case scenarios, laser eye treatment or surgery can also be performed.

Glaucoma and driving

Please be aware that if you are diagnosed with glaucoma then you should inform the DVLA and your motor insurers. It is a condition that should be declared under the item ‘has there been any material change that could affect your driving.’ Should you be involved in an accident and you had not declared that you have glaucoma, then you may not be insured and the DVLA could take action against you.

Regular eye tests can detect Glaucoma at its earliest stages.
Call us on 01628 663055 today to arrange an eye test.


There’s plenty more information about Glaucoma and possible treatments online:

NHS  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/glaucoma/
International Glaucoma Association  https://www.glaucoma-association.com/
InDependent Diabetes Trust  https://www.iddt.org/related-health-issues/the-eyes-and-diabetes/glaucoma