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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Just being diagnosed with glaucoma, what is my prognosis?

    I was recently diagnosed with glaucoma and until now i hadnt even heard of the condition. Can you go blind with glaucoma? Can it be cured?
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  • 3

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    Glaucoma Australia is the peak glaucoma awareness/education/support association in Australia.It is a national, not-for-profit registered charity dedicated to providing educational services to raise awareness about … View Profile

    Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure in the eye is too high for the eye, causing damage to the nerve of the eye. If the eye pressure is uncontrolled, the damage to the nerve of the eye will progressively worsen and in the worst case scenario, result in blindness. Unfortunately, glaucoma cannot be cured but it can be controlled. Any nerve damage that has already occurred from glaucoma cannot be reversed. However, further damage can be prevented or at least slowed down by reducing the eye pressure with either drops, laser or surgery. The great majority of treated glaucoma patients retain useful vision for the rest of the lives and do not go blind.

  • 7

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    Dr Colin Clement

    Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

    Glaucoma is an irreversible and progressive condition that is often asymptomatic early on but may cause significant disability from visual impairment when advanced.

    When a diagnosis of glaucoma is made, one of the first concerns expressed by patients is whether they might go blind. In reality, blindness from glaucoma is very uncommon for several reasons. Firstly, we are getting increasingly better at detecting the disease earlier. The earlier the disease is detected, the sooner treatment can be initiated and the better the outcome is likely to be. Secondly, glaucoma in general is a condition that progresses slowly over many years. Appropriate treatment can further slow or halt this progression. Thirdly, our options for treating glaucoma is ever expanding so when one strategy does not work there is often something else available that may work better.

    Studies show that the rate of developing blindness in one eye only in those with glaucoma is up to 9% during a lifetime and closer to 2-5% for blindness in both eyes. It is important to remember that this is a statistical definition of blindness (Visual field reduction within 10 degrees of centre or acuity less than 6/60) and not total blindness which is probably less common again.

    Those that progress to blindness either have very advanced disease before being detected, have an unusually aggressive type of glaucoma, have had it a very long time (50 years or more) or are not adherent to treatment. The best way to guard against vision loss is to be vigilant with treatment and have frequent eye checks.

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