Suite 309, 4 Columbia Court, Norwest Business Park, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.
Suite 309, 4 Columbia Court, Norwest Business Park, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.

Good Vision for Life – Glaucoma

Part of the Good Vision for Life Series – Glaucoma – Fact Sheet.

What is it? How do I know if I have it? How can I treat it?

Fact or fiction?

Glaucoma always leads to blindness

Untreated, glaucoma may lead to blindness however, early detection and treatment reduces damage and loss of vision.

My vision is perfect. I can’t have glaucoma

Most forms of glaucoma have no symptoms and affect your peripheral vision first. This is why regular eye examinations with your optometrist is extremely important.

My friend says exercise is bad for his glaucoma

This is not true. Studies have shown that jogging and other forms of exercise can help lower the pressure inside your eye.


What is glaucoma?

This is an eye disease in which the pressure inside the eye progressively damages the optic nerve. Problems not only when the pressure is high; in some people it can cause damage when the pressure is normal or low.

What causes glaucoma?

The fluid pressure that builds up inside the eye may be caused by producing too much fluid or the fluid being blocked from leaving the eye. When this fluid pressure builds up, it can cause damage to the sensitive optic nerve cells at the back of the eye. Optic nerve cells carry messages from your eye to your brain and once damaged, vision is lost permanently.

Who gets glaucoma?

Occurrence is more likely, and you should have your eyes checked regularly for glaucoma, if:

-You are over the age of 40 years
-Your mother, father, brother or sister have the disorder
-You have diabetes, high blood pressure or another eye disease

How will I know if I have glaucoma?

Commonly, glaucoma causes no pain or discomfort, does not affect how clearly you see and progresses slowly. You may not even know if you have it. Sometimes the pressure will rise quickly and cause intense eye pain and redness.

This type of glaucoma is an emergency and needs treatment as soon as possible.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

As part of your eye examination your optometrist will:
  • check if the pressure inside your eye
  • check if your field of vision
  • check if your optic nerve is damaged

Images of the back of the eye showing the optic nerve are taken and used for comparison with images taken at subsequent eye exams. Using these results and information from other tests, optometrists are able to tell if you have glaucoma or are at risk of developing glaucoma.

Can glaucoma be treated?

Glaucoma cannot be completely prevented and vision loss from glaucoma is permanent. The good news is that early detection and treatment can reduce damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision. Treatment is usually with prescription eye drops. Once diagnosed with glaucoma, you will need treatment for life. In some cases, eye drops alone will not control the damage to the optic nerve and laser treatment or surgery is needed.

What support is there for glaucoma sufferers?

Glaucoma Australia is a national organisation, they are dedicated to supporting glaucoma sufferers raising funds for research. For more information about Glaucoma Australia, call 1800 500 880 or visit

(Glaucoma information sheet reproduced from Optometry Australia’s Good Vision for Life  initiative)


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