There are several forms of glaucoma. The most common type, primary open angle glaucoma, is characterised by raised intraocular pressure causing damage to the optic nerve and visual field loss.
It affects 1% of those aged over 40years and 10% of over 80s. There is a strong genetic link. Other risk factors include increasing age, diabetes and short sightedness.
There are no symptoms caused by primary open angle glaucoma until the disease is advanced, so regular eye examinations are imperative for early detection. This form of glaucoma can be successfully managed using eye drops.
Another form, angle closure glaucoma, has an acute onset causing sudden ocular pain, loss of vision, red eye and nausea. This requires urgent treatment and frequently benefits from laser therapy.