What is Glaucoma?

The eye naturally produces and drains its own fluid. When the eye produces more fluid than is being drained because of a blockage, extra pressure is built up inside of the eye. When this pressure gets too high damage is done to the optic nerve. Because the optic nerve is largely responsible for the images we see, when it becomes damaged, vision loss occurs.

How we test for Glaucoma?

There are a series of minor tests that our optometrist at Blackheath Eyecare utilises in determining your glaucoma status.

Tonometry – This is a short, simple, and painless test. Just like you are able to check your blood pressure, we can also check your eye pressure. The result gives us a numerical value that we use to determine your risk category based on how high or low the pressure in your eye is.

Ophthalmoscopy – With the use of a small hand held machine called an ophthalmoscope; your optometrist is able to see inside of your eye to observe if there has been any damage to your optic nerve.

Visual Field Test – If affected by glaucoma, the first part of your vision to be lost is your peripheral vision. The visual field is a machine that makes sure you have not developed any abnormal blind spots or missing vision due to glaucoma. While mainly used to test for glaucoma, the visual field machine can also detect blind spots caused by other conditions such as aneurisms, brain tumours, etc.

Risk Factors

There is currently no preventative method of treatment for glaucoma as its causes are unknown. Glaucoma can occur at any age, any gender, and any ethnicity. However, certain factors have been linked with creating a higher risk for developing glaucoma.

  • An existing family history of glaucoma
  • Individuals 40 years and older
  • Diabetics
  • Individuals with severe near-sightedness
  • Those of African-American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit, or Scandinavian descent
  • Being on a steroid such as prednisone

Glaucoma Symptoms

Glaucoma is one of the most serious eye diseases because it seldom displays symptoms until vision is lost and glaucoma is already in the advanced stages. For this reason, it is extremely important to have regular eye exams. If any of these symptoms are present, it is very important that you seek emergency care by your optometrist;

  • Seeing halos around lights accompanied by pain in the eye(s) or headache
  • Vision loss
  • Unexplained redness in the eye
  • Eye that looks hazy (particularly in infants)
  • Pain in the eye
  • Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)


A regimen of prescription eye drops is the most effective method of treatment. However, in some severe cases, surgery may have to be implemented. Even with treatment, any vision that has been lost due to glaucoma is not re-storable. Keeping on track with regular visits to your optometrist is crucial in early detection and prevention of vision loss.

Call our team today at Blackheath Eyecare to schedule your Glaucoma Screening and Examination on 020 8305 1060.

You can find out more about glaucoma and the treatment options on the NHS website.