Glaucoma is a relatively common eye condition that, if untreated, can lead to devastating sight loss.

In its most common form, primary open angle glaucoma, (POAG) it is an insidious disease that only causes noticeable symptoms once it is quite advanced. It is totally painless.

Once the damage is done it cannot be repaired so early detection is paramount.

If caught early enough POAG can usually be controlled by daily drops, although sometimes surgery is required if the pressure does not respond to drops.

The only way to detect this form of glaucoma is to have regular eye examinations.

The risk of glaucoma increases with age, a high prescription and some medication. If you have a close relative with glaucoma you are considered to be more at risk of developing it. If you are aged over 40 and the parent, child or sibling of someone with glaucoma then you should have an eye examination every year.

If there is no family history of glaucoma you should still have your eyes tested at least every 2 years.

There are other forms of glaucoma. Low tension glaucoma, closed angle / acute glaucoma and sub-acute angle closure glaucoma

The OCT scan is designed to detect the earliest signs of glaucoma by looking for subtle changes over time in the tiny nerve fibres in the back of the eye. We recommend these scans for anyone over the age of 40 but particularly for anyone with any of the risks factors above.

For more information on glaucoma visit www.glaucoma-association.com