Glaucoma is a disease that damaged nerve fibre and the optic nerve. These nerve fibres connect the retina with the brain. The loss of nerve fibre creates blind spots, but by far the most serious damage caused by glaucoma is high intraocular pressure. This occurs because the production and removal of aqueous humour is not in balance with each other. This increases the pressure on the retina, which results in loss of nerve fibre.
Damage to the optic nerve leads to loss of visual field and could ultimately result in tunnel vision or even blindness. Glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes.
At an early stage, glaucoma does not exhibit any symptoms in spite of the fact that visual field loss is noticeable. As the disease progresses, visual field defects become greater and the person sees increasingly worse at twilight and in the dark. At an advanced stage, glaucoma causes severe loss in the visual field and the central part of the visual field might also be affected, which results in reduced visual acuity.
Reducing the optic pressure by means of eye drops or by laser treatment or by surgery for reducing the optic pressure. This does not improve visual acuity. Constant monitoring by an eye specialist and consistent treatments are essential.
The practical consequences depend largely on the loss of visual field:
- Loss of visual field can lead to mobility problems, for example
- Visual acuity decreases (seeing fewer details). For example: difficulty with threading a needle, reading, recognising people
- General difficulties with vision in twilight and darkness
- Sensitivity to glaring light
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