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Early symptoms: None in the early stages
Later symptoms: Progressive loss of side vision, eventual blindness
Risk factors: Family history of glaucoma, older age >40 years, short-sightedness or long-sightedness
Normal Optic Nerve
Optic Nerve with Glaucoma
Did you know?
Glaucoma is an eye condition affecting the nerve at the back of the eyeball called the optic nerve. The optic nerve is progressively damaged due to eyeball pressure being too high for the nerve. The level of eyeball pressure at which damage occurs varies from person to person.
It is important to know that glaucoma causes nerve damage and nerve that is damaged cannot be repaired. So any damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible. Blindness from glaucoma is also irreversible.
So it is very important to identify and treat glaucoma as early as possible to preserve vision and prevent blindness. The only way to detect glaucoma is to get checked by an eye care professional because glaucoma has no symptoms until very late.
There are many different kinds of glaucoma, but the two commonest types in Singapore are open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. In Singapore about half of our patients will have closed-angle glaucoma.
Closed angle glaucoma is potentially preventable. In the early stages, your eye doctor can identify features that put you at risk for closed angle glaucoma before glaucoma develops. Treatments such as a laser procedure called an iridotomy or cataract surgery can help prevent progression.
Risk factors for glaucoma include
Remember, glaucoma has no symptoms until very late. So the only way to diagnose glaucoma is by getting your eyes checked by an eye specialist to:
It is widely believed that there is no treatment for glaucoma, but that is not true. There is treatment which is aimed at reducing the eyeball pressure to stop any further damage from occurring. But it does not repair the damage that has already occurred. So treatment for glaucoma is best started as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your vision.
Medicated eye drops. Most patients will be started on eye drops that need to be used on a daily basis. Some will require only one type of eye drop while others may require several different types of eye drops. The important thing to remember is that these eye drops need to be used every day so that the eyeball pressure is kept low every day.
Laser treatment. There are different types of laser treatment for glaucoma depending on the type of glaucoma you have. In some patients, laser treatment can be very effective, reducing or even eliminating the need for eye drops. Most lasers for glaucoma are clinic-based procedures and you will not need to stay in hospital. Usually most patients will also be able to return to work the next day if they wish. The types of laser treatments for glaucoma include:
Surgery. Surgery for glaucoma involves creating a new drainage channel for fluid to leave the eye. There are 3 situations where surgery may be offered to you:
The types of glaucoma surgeries include:
The symptoms and possible related eye conditions/diseases in this section are for general reference only, and do not contain all visual symptoms or all possible related conditions or diseases. If you have any unusual vision symptoms, speak with your ophthalmologist.