Glaucoma

Changes can occur in the retina which reduce sensitivity of the nerves that convert light into tiny electrical impulses for the brain.The risk of Glaucoma increases noticably around 40 years of age. The risk is higher if it is present in close relatives. By the age of 70 years, 7 in 100 people have glaucoma. Checks for glaucoma include the examination of the anterior eye, the optic disc; measuring the pressure of the eye, and checking visual fields. Glaucoma, is a group of diseases involving the pressure of fluid inside the eyeball itself. It becomes too high for the structures of the eye to cope with. This results in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. Approximately 2% of the population over 40 years of age, have the chronic form of this disease, which has no symptoms for most of the course of the disease. People are unaware of changes in vision until up to 75% of the peripheral vision is gone. That is because it is such a slow change over a number of years. Signs can be detected early by a full visual examination and by checking back for changes from previous results over the years. When the optometrist has concerns for the eye health referral to an Ophthalmologist for treatment will be made with the aim to halt the progression, stabilizing it in most cases. Medication, surgery and laser technology also plays a role in treating some types of glaucoma.