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Glaucoma is an eye diseases in which the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain, is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye.
This may be because the pressure is higher than normal, or because the nerve is more susceptible to damage from pressure.
This may affect one or both of your eyes.
There are two main types of glaucoma:
+ chronic glaucoma, which happens slowly
+ acute glaucoma which happens quickly
Chronic glaucoma is much more common than acute glaucoma.
Who is at risk of chronic glaucoma?
Anyone can develop chronic glaucoma. The risk of developing chronic glaucoma increases if you:
• are aged over 40
• are very short-sighted
• are of African or Caribbean origin
• are closely related to someone with chronic glaucoma
• have raised pressure within your eye. This is called ocular hypertension (OHT).
If one of your parents or children, or a brother or sister, has glaucoma, and you are over 40, the NHS will pay for your eye examination.
There are three main tests to see if you have chronic glaucoma. The first one is where your optometrist looks at the nerve at the back of your eye using an ophthalmoscope, or a slit lamp to shine a light into your eye. They may also take a photograph or a scan of the nerve. This can be useful for future visits, to help them see if things have changed.
The second test is where the optometrist measures the pressure inside your eye. This may be done by using a machine which gently blows a puff of air at your eye, or by numbing your eye with drops and then gently pressing an instrument called a tonometer against it. The tests do not hurt, although the puff of air may make you jump a bit.
The third test is where the optometrist tests how wide your visual field is – how far you can see around you when you are looking straight ahead.
Sometimes you can have chronic glaucoma even if you have normal eye pressure, which is why you will usually have at least two of these three tests.
If your optometrist suspects that you may have glaucoma, he or she will refer you to an ophthalmologist.
For any more information please contact us