Glaucoma is usually a very slow, progressive, asymptomatic, potentially blinding group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. Experts estimate that half of the people affected by glaucoma may not know they have it. Sudden onset glaucoma can also cause visual damage by other mechanisms especially by damaging circulation in blood vessels on the retina.
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma there is a problem with drainage of aqueous fluid through the trabecular meshwork which causes eye pressure to rise and damage to the optic nerve can occur.
Angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a malformation or blockage of the eye's drainage structures. There are two subcategories of angle closure glaucoma: primary and acute.
Normal tension glaucoma (NTG), also known as low tension or normal pressure glaucoma, is a form of glaucoma in which damage occurs to the optic nerve without eye pressure exceeding the normal range. In general, a “normal” pressure range is between 10-20 mm Hg.
Glaucoma suspects require regular checkups for some years, these tests are usually performed every year. Tests usually involve measuring eye pressure, looking at the optic nerve (and usually comparing it with baseline photos taken at the first visit) and a computerized visual field test. Specialised optic nerve imaging is also performed.
The most common form of glaucoma treatment is eye drops. Some patients may require in room laser treatments or surgery. Each type of glaucoma may require its own tailored treatment program.