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Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that slowly damage the nerve for vision at the back of the eye (‘optic nerve’). It is often linked to high pressure inside the eye but can also occur with normal pressure.

Often glaucoma has no symptoms until significant damage has been done to the optic nerve. It can lead to vision loss which often starts with the loss of peripheral (side) vision. In most cases this is gradual.

Very rarely, people may develop a sudden-onset, painful form of glaucoma with rapid loss of vision. This is a medical emergency.

Some people may be more at risk of developing glaucoma. These include people:

  • aged 40 or over
  • with a family history of glaucoma
  • of African or Asian descent and aged over 40
  • who have diabetes
  • who are very short sighted or long sighted
  • who have had previous eye injuries or have used long term corticosteroids.

A range of treatment options exist. They can control the progression of glaucoma and slow the rate of vision loss. Treatment will depend on the stage and type of the disease.

Regular eye tests with an eye health professional, even if you do not notice any change in your vision, are essential for early detection of glaucoma. If you notice any changes in your vision, don’t delay, book an eye test immediately.