Glaucoma is often called the silent or sneak thief of the sight, because it affects your peripheral or side vision gradually and almost imperceptibly, eventually causing tunnel vision and even blindness.
The good news is, with early detection and treatment, glaucoma can be controlled, and your vision can be saved.
Compare the two images below:
Normal Optic Disc
Glaucomatous Optic Disc
Glaucoma is usually associated with raised pressure inside your eye, caused by problems in the eye’s fluid drainage channels, which damages the optic nerve. However, it can sometimes occur in eyes where the pressure is normal. That’s why specialists will check both the pressure in your eye, and the appearance of your optic disc (where the optic nerve leaves the back of the eye) for signs of glaucoma.
Glaucoma diagnosis and testing
If you’re over 40, you have about a 1% chance of developing glaucoma, and you should make an appointment with your ophthalmologist at least every five years for a check-up – more often if you have a family history of glaucoma.
Glaucoma treatment options
While it cannot be ‘cured’, it can be controlled so that further damage to your eyes is slowed or stopped altogether, preventing blindness.
Treatments generally work by lowering the pressure inside the eye so that no further damage to the optic disc occurs.
In many cases, glaucoma can be controlled using eye drops that reduce the pressure inside the eye. Your specialist will recommend the best one for you based on your condition. Glaucoma management with eye drops requires your commitment, because they must be taken regularly and continuously to be effective.
If your glaucoma continues to worsen despite the use of eye drops, laser treatment may be needed. Laser trabeculoplasty is a relatively straightforward operation, performed under local anaesthetic. A laser is used to remove blockages in the eye’s drainage channels, reducing the pressure inside the eye.
Occasionally, surgery is used to create a new channel to allow fluid to drain out of the eye. Glaucoma surgery is usually very effective, and you may even find that you need no further medications after surgery.
It’s important to remember that glaucoma, once diagnosed, will be with you for the rest of your life. While there are many effective treatments available, you must take your treatment as advised, and have regular check-ups.
PART OF YOUR GLAUCOMA TREATMENT MAY BE COVERED
Your medical insurance may cover the cost of treatment
Please contact your insurance provider for more details
Our glaucoma specialists have significant experience in glaucoma, offering a range of effective treatments that include eye drops, medication, laser treatment and surgery
Affiliated to Southern Cross Health Society
No need for prior approval
No money up front for surgery
Southern Cross pays us directly