Glaucoma is a condition is more common than you may think; the NHS estimates around 500,000 people in England and Wales suffer from it, with many more going undiagnosed.
Ahead of World Glaucoma Week (March 11-17) we take a look.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma develops when fluid cannot drain properly and pressure builds up inside the eye; this can damage the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, and the light-sensitive nerve tissues that line the back of the eye.
It can often affect both eyes, but it’s common for one eye to develop the condition quicker than the other.
How to spot glaucoma
There are four different types of glaucoma, the most common being chronic open-angle glaucoma. Unfortunately this has very few noticeable symptoms because it develops over a long period of time.
Because of the length of time it takes to develop, people do not always realise their peripheral vision is diminishing as it worsens gradually as the diseases progresses.
More severe types of the condition have more obvious symptoms, including intense pain, redness of the eye, misty vision and a tender eye area.
How to treat glaucoma
Eye drops, laser treatment and, in more extreme cases, surgery, can treat the condition. Early diagnosis is key because damage to the eye cannot be reversed and glaucoma can result in serious sight loss; these treatments can only control it and minimise damage.
How to prevent glaucoma
Opticians can spot the condition, so regular eye tests are key to early detection.