Glaucoma is a complex, poorly understood condition that causes progressive damage to the nerves that carry the images from the retina to the brain.
It can be due to a build-up of pressure in the eye, but roughly half of all Glaucoma cases have “normal” pressures - it may also be influenced by changes in blood pressure and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure as well as mitochondrial dysfunction. It is usually painless and slow to develop and most types of Glaucoma have no symptoms until the end stages - it sometimes is referred to as the “thief of sight”. It is normally detected by careful eye examinations where subtle changes in the thickness and appearance of the nerve fibres are measured, as well as subtle changes to peripheral and central vision and the pressure inside the eye.
Vision affected by Glaucoma
Types of Glaucoma
There are four main types of glaucoma:
- chronic open-angle glaucoma – the most common type of glaucoma which develops very slowly
- primary angle-closure glaucoma – this is rare and can occur slowly (chronic) or may develop rapidly (acute) with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye
- secondary glaucoma – this mainly occurs as a result of an eye injury or another eye condition, such as uveitis (inflammation of the middle layer of the eye)
- developmental glaucoma (congenital glaucoma) – a rare but sometimes serious type of glaucoma which occurs in very young children, caused by an abnormality of the eye