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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Glaucoma is a chronic, incipient illness that most often has no symptoms.
Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure inside the eye that leads to damage to the optic nerve fibres and diminished field of vision.

Before the illness is discovered, it has most often lead to permanent loss of optic nerve fibres and diminished field of vision, and this is why the illness is treacherous. Glaucoma is a relatively rare illness. Only around 1% of the population older than 45 years have glaucoma. There is some degree of heritage connected to glaucoma. The risk of having glaucoma is ten times higher if other family members have it. Therefore, it is a good idea to be examined by an ophthalmologist, if a family member has glaucoma, even though you do not have any symptoms. Most often, difficulties with orientation in dimmed lighting are noticed. In many cases, this is perceived as clumsiness, senile decay or the glasses are blamed.

During your life, a natural loss of optic nerve fibres occur but in the case of glaucoma the rate of loss is increased.

In a few cases, glaucoma can occur in an acute form with heavy pains in the eyes, headache in the forehead, sudden reduction of eyesight within hours and nausea. The eye is fiery red and the pupil increases in size. This form of glaucoma requires acute treatment. Untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Further reading on Frequent signs.

What can you do?

If you have knowledge about glaucoma occurring in your family, you should be examined with an ophthalmologist – even though you have no symptoms. If you have glaucoma, the treatment is chronic and lifelong. If you are medicated for another illness at the same time, it is important to ask the ophthalmologist whether the medication is effective when you have glaucoma. Some forms of medication can worsen glaucoma.

What can your optician do?
If there is suspicion of glaucoma, the optician refers you to an ophthalmologist.

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our doctor can contact the ophthalmologist for examination and unravelling of glaucoma.

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The ophthalmologist examines and evaluates glaucoma by measuring the pressure in the eyes, measuring the thickness of the cornea, examining the field of vision, looking into the eye, possibly with a contact lens, and photographing the optic nerve fibres. Furthermore, the ophthalmologist can scan the nerve fibres in the optic nerve and have an impression of whether the amount of nerve fibres corresponds to sex and age. No matter the type of glaucoma, it is important to lower the pressure inside the eye. The ophthalmologist prescribes eye drops to lower the pressure in the eye. In severe cases, surgery is necessary. Patients with glaucoma should continuously undergo control with the ophthalmologist.