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Suite 5A, Level 1, 1-17 Elsie Street

Burwood NSW 2134


(02) 8090 8010


This is a group of diseases that damage the nerve of sight as it leaves the eye.  The eye converts the image of the world into electricity and sends it down a wire to the brain for further processing.  This wire has more than a million fibres, which are irreversibly and gradually damaged in glaucoma as they leave the eye.  In the majority of patients it affects the peripheral (side) vision first.  Central vision is used for reading objects near and far.  When an individual loses this vision life becomes difficult and help is sought.  Peripheral vision is useful for navigation and danger detection.  Most people however, do not know how much peripheral vision they had yesterday so they cannot tell if they are losing peripheral vision.  In glaucoma the initial loss of peripheral vision goes un-noticed until it threatens the central vision.  Thus glaucoma is called the sneak thief of sight.  


Who gets glaucoma?

The risk factors for glaucoma are advancing age, family history, high eye pressure (this is different from blood pressure), being short or long sighted, a history of diabetes and/or high blood pressure.  These are only risk factors and one can have none, some or all of the risk factors and still not have glaucoma.  Certainly people with these risk factors should be throughly assessed for glaucoma.


How does one know if one has glaucoma?

Because glaucoma is asymptomatic and affects peripheral vision it is difficult for an individual to detect their own glaucoma.  Usually individuals present to their optometrist or general practitioners who perform an assessment and refer them to us for further testing if there are any concerns.  Our assessment involves finding your risk factor profile, measuring your pressure, assessing the area that drains fluid out of the eye, capturing a digital image of the nerve of sight and performing a visual field test (peripheral vision test).  Based on all the information collected a decision is then made regarding the presence of glaucoma.


How is glaucoma treated?

Glaucoma is treated in the vast majority of cases with drops.  Lasers and drainage surgery are also performed to reduce pressure.  The aim of glaucoma treatment is to halt the progression of disease.  At present, treatment cannot return the sight that has been lost.  Compliance with the treatment prescribed by us is very important to prevent further damage.