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Glaucoma Definition

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition of the eyes that causes damage to the optic nerve in your eye and worsens over time. It's often associated with a build-up of pressure inside your eye. This condition tends to be inherited and you may not notice it until later on in life. The increased pressure is what causes the damage to the optic nerve. This then provides images to your brain. If the damage is persistent, then glaucoma could lead to permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, this condition can cause complete blindness within a few years which is irreversible.

There are two main forms of glaucoma: Angle-closure, and open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common.

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the result of high fluid pressure inside your eyes. This is a result of when the liquid in the front section of the eye won't circulate the way it is meant to.

Normally, the fluid flows out of your eye via a mesh-like channel. When this channel gets blocked, this leads to a build-up of the liquid. This is what causes glaucoma. The specific reason for this blockage is not currently known. However, doctors are aware that it can be inherited, which means it can be passed from parents to children.

More causes, which are less common, include a chemical or blunt injury to the eye, blocked blood vessels within the eye, a severe eye infection or an inflammatory condition. In rare cases, sometimes eye surgery that's used to correct a separate eye condition can cause the onset of glaucoma.

Are there any glaucoma symptoms?

The most common symptoms of glaucoma include:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Seeing rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights
  • Severe head and eye pain
  • Vomiting or nausea alongside the eye pain
  • Sudden loss of sight

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's best to visit your doctor.

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