Glaucoma – Your frequently asked questions answered

What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma can either be primary or secondary. Primary means that there is no specific cause for it and it is just one of those things. Secondary causes are usually related to previous operations or injuries. We do know that if you have a first degree relative with glaucoma you have a one in five chance of developing it. Glaucoma is about the pressure in the eye going up and causing damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. It is effectively the pressure compressing the nerve fibres as they exit the eye and then they get damaged. It results in loss of the field of vision and the worrying feature is that it is silent and you do not know it is occurring.

Can glaucoma be cured?

No glaucoma cannot be cured but it can be controlled and managed with drops or laser thereapy.

Can glaucoma lead to blindness?

Sadly it can, but that is very rare. It is important that it is picked up early and so people should visit their own optometrists on a regular basis for checks. If they detect high pressures or are worried about the optic nerve at the back of the eye they can refer you in. The prognosis with early detection is excellent.

When do you need to see a specialist for glaucoma?

If your optometrist has any concerns about glaucoma you should be referred in to see a specialist.

How to prevent glaucoma

Glaucoma cannot be prevented but it can be detected early and treated to make sure it does not get any worse.

Are glaucoma and cataracts related?

There is no direct link between the two. If you do have cataracts as well as glaucoma then taking the cataracts out can actually lower the pressure inside the eye to protect the nerve.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

We check the pressure, look at the optic nerve and do field of vision tests. Sometimes the diagnosis is not clear cut and we need to follow you up over time to detect any change.

How is glaucoma treated?

Usually drops are prescribed but there are also laser treatments available. Very rarely if drops and laser fail to control the glaucoma surgery is required.

Glaucoma treatment at Woodthorpe Hospital

For more information or to book an appointment please contact us on 0115 684 8929, or alternatively use our online enquiry form.

Mr Amar Alwitry

Content reviewed by:

Mr Amar Alwitry - Consultant Ophthalmologist

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