Glaucoma is a condition which damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the part of the eye that transmits signals from the eye to the brain. In most cases a person would not be aware that they have glaucoma. It normally occurs without causing any pain. This is because glaucoma generally affects peripheral (side) vision first.

When you go to your optometrist for an eye examination, you will be assessed for signs of glaucoma. There are a number of checks the optometrist may use to do this:

1. Examining the back of the eye for signs of damage to the optic nerve.

2. Measuring “Intra-Ocular Pressure” (puff of air test).

3. Assessing the peripheral vision with a Visual Field test.

Glaucoma can affect anyone regardless of age or general health. However, people who are over 40 years of age are at a higher risk of developing the disease, as are those with a family history of the condition.

Glaucoma can be treated with the use of drops and/or minor surgery. Any damage that has been done to vision cannot be repaired, but treatment can prevent further damage from occurring. This is why it is very important that the condition be detected at an early stage.

Early detection is vital. Thus, anyone aged 40 or over should have an eye examination every two years. If you are in a higher risk group, you mayneed more regular checks.