Glaucoma is known as the “Silent Thief of Sight”. Early disease may be unnoticed by the patient as it affects peripheral vision initially. It damages the eye (optic) nerve and may result in irreversible loss of vision. End stage glaucoma may result in tunnel vision or even blindness. Glaucoma is not preventable and early detection is the most ideal.
Two main types of Glaucoma:
- Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
- Angle Closure Glaucoma
Visual symptoms include:
Visual blurring and discomfort
Glare and colored rings around lights
Poor adaptation between light and dark conditions
Difficulty in tracking fast-moving objects such as tennis balls and speeding cars
At risk groups include:
Patients over 40 years of age who have not had regular eye checks
Patients who have a family member with glaucoma
Patients with diabetes or on steroid treatment
Patients with high myopia or very high long-sightedness
If a family member has glaucoma, the risk of glaucoma in another family member increases 2-3 times compared to the normal population.
Blindness from Glaucoma
According to WHO statistics, glaucoma is the second major cause of blindness in Asia after cataracts and accounts for 20% of unilateral blind eyes in Singapore. Glaucoma vision loss is irreversible, however if identified and treated early, blindness arising from glaucoma can be prevented.
Your eye doctor may be the only person who can tell you if you have glaucoma by:
Checking your eyeball pressure
Examining the appearance of your eye nerve
Using a computer to test your visual field
Using high resolution imaging of the eye nerve and the eye fluid drainage system