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What is Glaucoma?

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Glaucoma is the name of a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve that links the eye to the brain.

The direct physical cause is that the optic nerve becomes damaged. This nerve carries signals from the back of your eye to the brain and allows you to see. Nerve damage is often related to the fluid in the eye. Sometimes, the pressure of the fluid inside the eye rises, and the fluid presses hard on the optic nerve, damaging it. But glaucoma can also occur even when the fluid pressure in the eye is normal.

What glaucoma treatments do is to reduce pressure in the eye.

While it is typical to develop glaucoma with age, it can actually happen to anyone at any age. People are slightly more likely to have glaucoma if a close relative has it. It is also more common in people of African or Asian descent than others. People with diabetes are also at risk. If you have other conditions such as high or low blood pressure, migraine, short or long sightedness or if you have an extended period of using cortisone drugs (steroids), there is a higher possibility of getting glaucoma. Currently in Australia, 2 in 100 Australians are expected to develop glaucoma in their lifetime, and 50% of Australians with glaucoma are actually not aware of their condition.

People with angle closure glaucoma can get blurred vision, experience pain and develop a red eye, and might see halos around bright lights. They can also feel nauseous, get headaches and vomiting.

Most people with glaucoma have few to no symptoms until their eyesight is damaged. There are basically no warning signs in the early stages. Damage is progressive, and it is often the case that glaucoma gets detected only when many nerve fibres have been affected.

While glaucoma cannot be prevented or cured, if detected early then treatment can help to slow down or halt the damage. See an optometrist or ophthalmologist for regular eye examinations every 2 to 3 years especially if you are over 50 or you have traits that may increase your chances of getting glaucoma. These comprehensive eye examinations can help save your vision.

Contact Dr. Young at 1300 898 935 for a consultation at any of the following locations:

• Taree Eye Clinic - 48-52 Manning St, Taree • Coffs Harbour Eye Clinic - 1/73 Albany St, Coffs Harbour • Port Macquarie Eye Clinic opening early 2020 at 163 Lake Road, Port Macquarie


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