This is one of the commonest causes of sight loss in Ireland. It occurs because of damage to the optic nerve (at the back of the eye) which usually occurs gradually over time.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the commonest variant in Ireland. The pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure) is usually high leading to pressure on the optic nerve, however, there is a variant of glaucoma where the intraocular pressure is within the normal range (normal tension glaucoma). Both primary open angle glaucoma and normal tension glaucoma are painless and asymptomatic in the early stages and can go unnoticed. Unfortunately, damage to the optic nerve is not reversible and as such early diagnosis and treatment is key to stabilizing the condition and preventing serious visual loss.
Glaucoma can usually be controlled and stabilized with drops however occasionally laser or surgery may be required where drops are inadequate. Monitoring of the condition involves regular review with measurement of the intraocular pressure along with clinical assessment of the optic nerves. A Humphrey visual field analyser is used in the assessment of the visual field in each eye. It is performed on a regular basis to detect early changes in the visual field and to monitor for any progression of the glaucoma (and associated optic nerve damage).
Acute glaucoma is much less common (than chronic open-angle glaucoma) in Ireland. This is an ophthalmic emergency where there is an acute rise in the intraocular pressure. This causes the eye to become very painful and red with a sudden drop in the vision and requires urgent treatment to prevent permanent visual loss.
Steamboat Eye Clinic in Limerick specialise in Glaucoma treatments and if you would like to arrange an appointment, contact our Eye Clinic on 061 310379.