Glaucoma is a group of eye condition that can occur at any age, but is more commonly seen in those over 40. It is one of the leading cause of blindness in New Zealand. Though its progression can be controlled with ongoing treatment, early detection is the key hence the importance of regular eye exam. If you are over 40 you should be checked every 2 years, and if you have a family history of glaucoma you should be checked every year.

glaucoma eye

Open angle glaucoma

Glaucoma is associated with increased pressure in the eye. The eye produces a fluid (aqueous), which needs to drain out of the eye at the same rate as it is being produced. If this doesn’t happen, the pressure in the eye increases resulting in damage to the optic nerve. As the disease progresses subsequent damage will result in blind spots in the vision. Treatment, usually with eye drops, will not recover any lost vision but will slow down the damage process.

Glaucoma treatment

At Highbury Optometrists we are now qualified to treat and manage certain types of glaucoma. Treatment normally involves prescription eye drops. More advanced cases of glaucoma can require surgical treatment from an ophthalmologist as well.

Glaucoma testing

We carry out basic glaucoma screening tests on all patients. If risk factors for glaucoma are identified then further testing is done using visual field analyser and Optical coherence tomography OCT.

Acute glaucoma

There is another type of glaucoma called acute glaucoma. This occurs where the anterior chamber of the eye is too shallow. The anterior chamber of the eye becomes increasingly shallow with age, and can sometimes reach the point where it obstructs fluid outflow from the eye. This causes the pressure in the eye to rise very quickly causing severe pain, a red eye, sometimes blurred vision and halos around lights. It is important to seek treatment immediately if this occurs.

Pigment dispersion glaucoma

In some people, pigment from the iris becomes loose and floats freely in the fluid in the anterior chamber of the eye. Internal fluid, known as the aqueous humour is constantly forming and draining from the eye. The free pigment can block the fluid drainage channels resulting in higher internal eye pressure and ultimately leading to glaucoma.

For more information download the glaucoma brochure. glaucoma pdf icon
Please visit Glaucoma New Zealand. A charitable trust set up in support of glaucoma.
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