Understanding Glaucoma: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition that can affect the optic nerve, which is essential for clear and healthy vision. It is typically caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure. This increased pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss from the periphery and potential blindness when left untreated.

Glaucoma often develops slowly over time and can initially be asymptomatic, making it difficult to detect. However, in some cases, glaucoma symptoms can be sudden and severe which can be an alarming experience. It’s important to seek immediate medical advice and assistance if you experience severe eye pain of any kind.

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma may not present any noticeable symptoms even when advanced, which is why it is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight.” Glaucoma typically causes a gradual loss of peripheral vision, eventually leading to tunnel vision, which patients can become increasingly aware of.

In some cases where the eye pressure increases very suddenly, people may also experience severe eye pain, redness of the eyes, blurred or cloudy vision, the appearance of halos or rainbow-coloured circles around lights, headaches, or nausea. If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention as early diagnosis and treatment can significantly help in preserving vision and preventing further damage caused by glaucoma.

While glaucoma symptoms can sound or feel frightening, it’s important not to ignore these symptoms as an early diagnosis and treatment can preserve vision but not reverse vision loss.

What Is the Treatment for Glaucoma?

Treatment for glaucoma varies from patient to patient depending on the severity of the disease, the type of glaucoma and the general health of the patient. Careful examination and monitoring is often required to assess the condition and monitor the pressure.

A very common treatment approach involves the use of eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure. However, this is not always a permanent solution.

Laser therapy, such as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), can also be used to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye, that contributes to increasing intraocular pressure.   This is a simple, out-patient procedure, which is pain free and is now the first-line treatment for many types of glaucoma.

In more advanced cases or when other treatments are ineffective, a surgical procedure may be recommended.  These include the implantation of a stent and your consultant will recommend the most effective device for each individual.  This implant can be added at the same time as some other surgeries, such as treatment for cataracts. 

All diagnosed and treated patients must commit to continued, regular monitoring of their eyes.

If you have glaucoma or a history of glaucoma in your family it is also very important to attend annual eye examinations, where the peripheral vision and pressure in the eye can be monitored to maintain healthy eyes and good vision

It is important to consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible, if you have any concerns regarding glaucoma or your vision. At Vision Care Clinic, our consultants will discuss with you in detail the treatment options for your glaucoma, creating a bespoke plan for optimal results.

Glaucoma Treatments at Vision Care Clinic

Vision Care Clinic is delighted to have a dedicated glaucoma consultant on our team to help guide our glaucoma patients through their bespoke treatment plan. Our expert surgeon monitors and treats high intraocular pressure and glaucoma using expert diagnostic technology and an extensive range of advanced procedures to improve eye health and the management of glaucoma.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of glaucoma or have received a diagnosis, contact Vision Care Clinic on 0117 905 722 or click here to find out more about glaucoma.

Published 7th February 2024
by Helen Wood
Upper middle aged man and woman
Glaucoma is an eye condition that can affect the optic nerve, which is essential for clear and healthy vision. It is typically caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure.

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