What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease usually characterised by an increase in pressure within the eye. This may in time result in damage to the optic nerve, loss of peripheral or side vision and, ultimately, blindness. The higher the pressure within the eye, the greater the chance of damage to the optic nerve. Unfortunately, these symptoms are not always detectable in a patient and glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, especially for older people. It is, therefore, important to have regular eye examinations.

What causes glaucoma?

There are many likely factors working together which result in the disease called glaucoma. Increased pressure within the eye results from abnormal circulation of the clear fluid called aqueous humor. Aqueous humor is continually produced within the eye and constantly drains from the eye. If there is either an over-production of aqueous humor or insufficient drainage of the fluid, pressure builds up within the eye and the optic nerve may be damaged. Recently, the circulation of blood to the optic nerve has been implicated as a possible important factor in the causality of glaucoma.