Glaucoma: The silent thief of sight
Experts are urging people to have regular eye checks to help protect them from glaucoma – one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.
Nicola Stewart, store director at Specsavers in Stonehaven says: “Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It's usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye.
“Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if it's not diagnosed and treated early. But, although any vision which has been lost to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with early diagnosis, careful monitoring and regular treatment, most people retain useful sight for life.
‘There are two types of glaucoma. Chronic glaucoma and acute glaucoma.
"With chronic glaucoma, the visual loss can initially be very subtle and occurs just beyond your central vision, progressing slowly inwards towards your central vision and outwards into the periphery.
"Most patients will not be aware of this visual loss due to the way the eyes visual fields overlap, compensating for one another.
“The way this is detected by your optometrist is through the use of a visual field test. During this test you will be shown a sequence of light spots and asked which ones you can see.
"Any very subtle blind spots, which you will probably be unaware of, can be an indicator of the condition.
“However, acute glaucoma is often sudden and painful and may present with other symptoms including blurred vision and haloes around lights.
“At Specsavers, we also benefit from having advanced diagnostic equipment called OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) that enables us to look at the eye in more detail than ever before and spot the early signs of many sight loss conditions.”
Karen Osborn, Chief Executive at Glaucoma UK, adds: "The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed, the higher the chances are of retaining useful sight. Being diagnosed with glaucoma can be frightening, but as a charity we are here to support those with the disease to live well, and to offer help and advice.
"For more information, please visit our website glaucoma.uk.”