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Get the facts about Glaucoma

With over 300,000 Australians living with glaucoma1 it’s seen as one of Australia’s and the worlds leading causes of blindness and visual disability.

Glaucoma is usually characterised by the build up of pressure within the eye (known as intraocular pressure or IOP) that damages the optic nerve that links the eye to your brain2.

The extent of damage to the nerve can range from mild to severe, with extreme cases causing total blindness.

Types of Glaucoma

Open-angle: The most common type of Glaucoma, open-angle causes a gradual loss of vision, due to the eye’s filter mechanism becoming more resistant to the outflow of fluids. It’s generally found in older people as intraocular pressure builds up over time putting strain on the optic nerve.

Closed-angle: Closed-angle glaucoma causes more immediate and painful loss of vision due to unusual iris configuration blocking access to the eye filter.

What can be done to treat Glaucoma

While Glaucoma itself cannot be prevented, the vision problems it causes can be slowed once diagnosed. Glaucoma is normally treated with eye drops and medicines, however laser treatment and surgery may be needed in some cases to unblock the drainage system.

Early detection and diagnosis is key to treating glaucoma. It is recommended that adults – particularly those over the age of 40 with a family history of the condition – have their eyes checked regularly, regardless of a lack of noticeable symptoms or changes in vision. If you have any concerns about your vision, get in touch with your nearest OPSM optometrist and book an eye test.

2 Fred Hollows Foundation - http://www.hollows.org.au/eye-health/eye-health/glaucoma