Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. Most commonly affects people over 40 years old, being more frequent as age increases.

Glaucoma is an optic nerve family of diseases that causes loss of vision when left untreated, most of the times it develops progressively and without any symptoms, not until the patient feels peripheral vision loss, and because of that reason glaucoma is called “the silent thief”. There is a less common type where a sudden increase of the eye pressure happens, and in that case the patient experiences pain, blurry vision and haloes around lights.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent glaucoma. The only way to detect it is by performing an eye exam, when the optometrist will check the eye pressure (since eye pressures above normal levels are the main risk factor for glaucoma), check the optic nerve health, and measure the field of vision.

Treatment

Eye drops and laser surgery are the initial most common types of treatment for glaucoma, usually able to keep the eye pressures and field of vision stable. If untreated, loss of vision will affect first the peripheral vision, and at later stages the central vision, and may cause total blindness.