Today marks the first day of World Glaucoma Week and each year we join this initiative to encourage awareness and create conversation on glaucoma as this is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease of the eye characterised by the progressive and permanent damage to the optic nerve that is commonly caused by higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye. People with normal intraocular pressure (IOP) can also develop glaucoma, known as normal tension glaucoma. Loss of sight is usually gradual and a considerable amount of peripheral (side) vision may be damaged before it is detected. Aqueous humour is a clear fluid that is constantly being produced by the eye to nourish and hold the eye in shape. This fluid is also drained out through a drainage angle known as the anterior chamber angle. If there is blockage or narrowing of the drainage angle then the rate at which the eye produces the aqueous humour then becomes greater than the rate the eye can drain it – causing increased pressure and damage to the optic nerve fibres resulting in irreversible damage to eyesight.
Early detection and treatment can save sight; routine eye check-ups with your optometrist or ophthalmologist can allow early warning signs of glaucoma to be detected allowing prompt treatment to prevent or slow its progression.
You can read more about glaucoma at Glaucoma Australia: https://glaucoma.org.au