Glaucoma Guide

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Glaucoma is the second most common cause of preventable blindness throughout the world.  This Glaucoma Guide has been designed to aid understanding of this disease by people who have been diagnosed with glaucoma or who know somebody who has been diagnosed.

If you are at risk of developing glaucoma, certain preventative measures should be taken and advice sort from your eye care professional.  Many common questions are answered in the various pages of this guide to help you lookout for symptoms, understand the difference between the various types of glaucoma and understand what your treatment options are. 

What is Glaucoma?

The optic nerve is responsible for carrying messages to the brain from the retina, enabling us to see.  In glaucoma, this optic nerve becomes damaged.  This may be caused by an increase in eye pressure, which damages the nerve fibres of the optic nerve.  With this damage, blind spots may develop progressively over time.  Blindness from glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is completely destroyed and is irreversible.  Detected early, damage from glaucoma can be prevented/controlled.

The animation above shows that images are received at the back of the eye. The images are transmitted across the retina to the optic disc, and on to the brain. Glaucoma involves the depressing of the retina at the optic disc. This reduces the impulses travelling to the brain which leads to a loss of vision and eventually total blindness. Normally, fluid flows around the lens at the front of the eye. If this flow reduces or stops, pressure builds up. Sometimes this pushes the vitreous against the retina, depressing the optic disc. Eye drops can usually help get the fluid flowing again and reduce the pressure.

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