Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions in which the main nerve to the eye (the optic nerve) is damaged. This nerve carries information about what is being seen from the eye to the brain and as it becomes damaged, vision is lost. If untreated, this results in misty and patchy vision, with eventual loss of central vision, although this is rare. The biggest risk factor for developing glaucoma is raised eye pressure (intraocular pressure), but the condition becomes more common with age.
Although any vision which has been lost to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with early diagnosis, careful monitoring and regular use of treatments, most people retain useful sight for life.
The only way to know if you have glaucoma is to have your eyes checked at your local optometrist (optician).
Visit the NHS website for more information about glaucoma.
Types of glaucoma
The main types of glaucoma are:
- primary open angle glaucoma – where there is no underlying cause
- primary angle closure glaucoma (PDF 111Kb) – where the cause is due to narrowing of the space where the fluid produced inside the eye is meant to drain
- secondary glaucoma – where glaucoma is caused by another condition in the eye.
There is also a condition called ocular hypertension where the eye pressure is above the normal range, but there are no other problems with the eye. Sometimes patients are given a diagnosis of glaucoma suspect (PDF 124Kb) if there are findings consistent with early glaucoma, but further monitoring is required.
The main treatments for glaucoma are aimed at lowering the eye pressure and this can be done with medications in the form of eye drops, laser procedures or sometimes eye surgery.
We have a range of diagnostic and monitoring equipment within the glaucoma clinic including automated visual field analyzers, manual visual field machines, a stereo fundus camera and a high definition optical nerve and retinal scanner.
Below are the glaucoma procedures we regularly perform.
Incisional glaucoma surgery
Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery
We accept referrals from your local optician and from other eye departments or eye specialists.
Our team is made up of:
- consultant ophthalmologists who sub-specialise in glaucoma
- senior clinical fellows
- nurse practitioners
- specialist optometrists
- ophthalmic technicians.
Glaucoma helpline (voicemail) tel: 020 7188 9121
Find out how to contact the eye department(Word 16Kb).
We have an active glaucoma research department as we participate in a number
of clinical trials evaluating treatments for glaucoma. Speak to our team to find out more.