Glaucoma is a Serious and Potentially Blinding Disease.
Glaucoma is not actually a single disease. It is the name given to a group of diseases where the optic nerve is being injured and damaged. The fibres die slowly progressively which typically affects the peripheral (sides) vision first. This vision loss generally goes undetected until it is advanced and serious unless it is carefully screened for.
Glaucoma is also incurable. The damage to the optic nerve is permanent and is often progressive if undetected and untreated.
The Bad News
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in New Zealand. It affects 2% of people over the age of 40, and 10% of people over 70 have glaucoma. While older people are at a higher risk of glaucoma it can affect people of all ages.
The Good News
With proper care, less than 2% of people with glaucoma will go blind.
The careful identification of risk factors gives us the ability to formulate an individual risk profile for every client.
Your risk profile helps us to decide how frequently you should be screened and to make a decisions about whether your optic nerves shows signs of damage and to begin to treat. Sometimes referral is necessary if your risk profile is high enough, even though you do not currently have glaucoma.
We routinely screen all clients for glaucoma during our Classic Care eye test, but more specialised specific or frequently scheduled tests are required for some people.
Evaluation of Risk Factors
Structural Examinations may include:
- Microscope Examination
- Digital Retinal Images
- Corneal Thickness (pachymetry)
- Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT)
- Vision Examination
- Intra-ocular Pressure measurements
- Visual Field Examination
Regular and Scheduled Reviews
Here are ones you may know about:
- Family History
- Intra Ocular Pressure
- Steroid Use
- Eye Injuries
- Significant Short-Sightedness
- Significant Long-Sightedness
Ones you may not know about:
- Motion Sickness
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Sleep Apnea
- Low Blood Pressure
Ones you need an examination to know about:
- Raised eye pressure
- Optic Nerve signs
- Corneal Thickness
- Eye disease and structural abnormalities
- Early Peripheral Visual Field loss
Please tell us if you have a relative who has glaucoma when we next examine your eyes.