Glaucoma is a generic group of disorders characterised by progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of visual field, where raised eye pressure is a risk factor. It occurs primarily when the passages inside your eyes that work to drain the fluid in your eyes become damaged or blocked. This causes these excess fluids to build up, increasing the pressure inside your eye. This pressure, in turn, damages the optic nerve. As the optic nerve carries the visual information your eye sees to the brain, any damage here will hamper the transfer of information and cause a loss in vision.
It is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, and its exact causes are not yet known and it cannot currently be prevented, although ongoing research is still being conducted. If it is detected earl and treated quickly, glaucoma can be controlled with little to no loss of vision. It is one of the main reasons for regular eye examinations and literally anyone can develop glaucoma regardless of age. However, there are some groups of people known to be at heightened risk of developing the condition:
- People aged 40 and above
- Those with a family history of glaucoma
- Diabetic people
- People with stronger degree of short-sightedness
- Afro-Caribbeans (especially those aged 35 or higher)