What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. It can affect one or both of your eyes and can lead to sight loss if not treated. The two most common types of glaucoma are:

  • Chronic glaucoma – this develops slowly. This is the most common form of glaucoma in the UK. The most common form of chronic glaucoma is primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).
  • Acute glaucoma – this causes the pressure inside your eye to increase rapidly. It may be called acute angle closure glaucoma.

Who is Affected by Glaucoma?

Anyone can develop chronic glaucoma. But the risk increases if you:

  • are aged over 40
  • are very short-sighted
  • are of African or Caribbean origin
  • are closely related to someone with chronic glaucoma
  • have raised pressure in your eye. This is called ocular hypertension (OHT)
  • are diabetic
  • have high blood pressure.

People at risk of developing acute glaucoma include:

  • people over the age of 40
  • women
  • people of East Asian or South Asian origin
  • people with a family history of closed-angle glaucoma
  • people who are long-sighted.

If one of your parents or children, or a brother or sister, has glaucoma, and you are over 40, the NHS will pay for your eye examination.

The Best Possible Care for Your Eyes

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