The most common form of Glaucoma is caused by a build up of pressure within the eye due to poor drainage. Fluid builds up putting pressure on the optic nerve, which takes the messages from the eye to the visual cortex at the back of the brain creating an image. This damage to the optic nerve in turn leads to blind spots in the vision and eventually if left can lead to tunnel vision where all the periphery field of view is lost. If you are over the age of 40 and you have a immediate member of the family who has been diagnosed with glaucoma you are entitled to a free NHS sight test. Early stages can go completely unnoticed as there is no pain with the gradual build up of pressure and the initial blind spots as so small they are not noticeable. Age is the most relevant factor for the risk of glaucoma as it is more common in people over the age of 60. There are also some links with genetics and Glaucoma is thought to be hereditary. Most Optometrists recommend the eye pressure is checked every 12 months if there is glaucoma in your immediate family.
Treatment for Glaucoma
The first advice is always to book a full sight test with your optician. During your examination you eye pressure will be checked along with a full field of vision test to check for any blind spots. Your optometrist will also look at the back of the eye to check the optic disc for any damage or abnormalities. If there is any doubt you will be referred for a further investigation via the NHS referral pathway. Your eye care professional may simply monitor you with an annual appointment however if treatment is required you may be given eye drops or even offered surgery if necessary.