Glaucoma is an eye condition where theoptic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain,becomes damaged. It can lead to loss of vision if not detected and treated early on.
It usually occurs when the fluid in the eye cannot drain properly, which increases the pressure inside the eye and puts pressure on the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a common condition,but many people won't realise they have it because it doesn't always cause symptoms in the early stages.
It can affect people of all ages, including babies and young children, but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s.
This page covers
Glaucoma doesn't usually have any symptoms to begin with and is often only picked up during a routineeye test.
Many people don't realise they have it because it develops slowly over many years and tends to cause a loss ofperipheral vision (the edge of your vision) at first.
Both eyes are usually affected, althoughit may be worse in one eye. Without treatment,itcan eventually lead to Visual impairment .
Very occasionally, glaucoma can develop suddenly and cause:
Visitan opticians or your GP if you have any concerns about your vision.
If you have glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can help stop your vision getting worse.
If you develop symptoms of glaucoma suddenly (see above), go to your nearest eye casualty unit or accident and emergency (A&E) department as soon as possible.
This is a medical emergency that may require immediate treatment.
There are several different types of glaucoma.
Some of the main types are:
This can lead to a build-up of fluid and pressure in the eye and can damage the optic nerve.
It's often unclear exactly what causes it, although there are some things that can increase your risk, including:
It's not clear whether you can do anything to prevent glaucoma, but having regular eye tests will help ensure it's picked up as early as possible.
Find out if you're eligible for free NHS eye tests .
Several quick and painless tests can be carried out to check for glaucoma, including measurements of the pressure inside your eye and tests of your peripheral vision.
If tests suggest you have glaucoma, you should be referred to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to discuss treatment.
Read about how glaucoma is diagnosed .
It's not possible to reverse any loss of vision that occurred before glaucoma was diagnosed, but treatment can help stop your vision getting any worse.
The treatment recommended for you will depend on the type of glaucoma you have, but the main treatments are:
You'll also probably need regular appointments to monitor your condition and ensure treatment is working.
The outlook for glaucoma largely depends on the type of glaucoma you have, but generally:
The outlook is better the earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated.
This is why it's so important to get your eyes tested regularly and to make sure you follow your recommended treatment plan.
Find out about glaucoma, including what it is, what the symptoms are, why it happens and how it's treated.
Find out about the main types of glaucoma, including open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma.
Find out why glaucoma happens, including what can increase your risk of developing the condition.
Find out where to get tested for glaucoma and what tests may be carried out to diagnose the condition.
Find out about the main treatments for glaucoma, including eye drops, laser treatment and surgery.
Read about Linda Moore, who has had open angular glaucoma since she was 39.She runs the Poole Glaucoma Support Group, which supports people with glaucoma.