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Focus on Glaucoma


Focus on Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a medical condition that affects the eye.  It affects the optic nerve and can lead to reduced vision or in severe cases total blindness.  Usually, glaucoma is caused by increased pressure inside the eye due to problems in the way the fluid inside the eye drains.

Who gets Glaucoma

Glaucoma can run in families.  It is also more likely to develop in people who have diabetes and is more likely to occur as we age, being most common in the over 40s.

Are there different types of glaucoma?

The most common type is called wide angle or open angle glaucoma which develops over time and often has no symptoms in the early stage.  Sufferes may experience haloes around lights at night time and may notice some cloudiness of the cornea (the clear layer at the outside of the eye), while headache may occur in advanced cases.

A second type is known as narrow angle or closed angle glaucoma.  Narrow angle glaucoma is a medical emergency and usually requires surgery.  Usually this effects just one eye and symptoms include severe pain, headache and nausea.

How is Glaucoma detected

Regular check-ups by your GP or optician are the best way of checking for glaucoma.  They can measure the pressure in your eye as well as examining the back of your eye for any damage that may have occurred.  It is really important to get check-ups if a first degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter) have been diagnosed with glaucoma.  If you have been diagnosed you should encourage your first degree relatives to get checked if they hace nor already done so.

Treatments for Glaucoma

There is no cure for glaucoma and, unfortunately, any vision lost cannot be regained.  Further sight loss can be prevented through the use of medication to control pressure in the eye.  Sometimes surgery is needed.  Medication is usually administered in eye drops which need to be used every day.  Sometimes tablets will be prescribed.  Our pharmacists can help you get the most out of your glaucoma medicine by advising you on how to administer the drops as well as steps to take to reduce the likelihood of side effects.  We also have a number of dose administration aids to make the tricky task of using eye drops a little easier.