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What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, resulting in loss of visual field. It is described as the ‘silent thief of sight’ as some patients experience no symptoms until significant, irreversible damage is done.

What are risk factors of glaucoma?

There are many risk factors associated with glaucoma, but  elevation in eye pressure is the most significant cause. Other factors that may contribute to this disease include:

  • Age more than 40 years
  • Asians
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Blood conditions
  • Steroid usage
  • Extreme refractive errors
  • Family history of glaucoma

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

Glaucoma is usually picked up on routine eye examinations and screenings. The tests used to diagnose and monitor glaucoma include assessment of intra-ocular pressure, gonioscopy examination to assess the angles of the eye, visual field tests and optic nerve examination

What is your advice for the public?

Please get regular eye examinations especially for those aged 40 and above. Regular eye assessments can ensure early detection and treatment of the disease. This in effect, will help prevent significant visual loss. Prevention is better than cure.

by Dr Andrea Lillianne Barr Kumarakulasinghe, Consultant Ophthalmologist