It has been called the ‘silent thief of sight’ and this moniker is nothing short of apt. Glaucoma, for most who develop it, will come thick and fast. The rather common eye disease is often picked up a little too late – early stages are barely noticeable and people will often realise that they have it once it is in a moderate or advanced stage. No other condition causes as much permanent loss of vision as it does and 1 in 30 people aged 40-80 will develop it at some stage.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults. Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage.”
There is unfortunately no cure once a person develops the disease, but it can be managed effectively if it is picked up early. There are also multiple forms of glaucoma but they all generally exhibit the same symptoms. The National Eye Institute has a comprehensive breakdown of what the disease is and how it can be treated. It is also World Glaucoma Week and their page will inform you about the initiatives and awareness campaigns throughout the world.