Glaucoma is a disease that often proceeds unnoticed for a long time: usually a high intraocular pressure impairs the blood flow at the optic nerve; but glaucoma can also occur with “normal” eye pressure.
In glaucoma, the nerve fibers of the optic nerve gradually decays. As a result the image recorded by the retina can only be transmitted incompletely to the visual center of the brain. About 4% of all people will develop glaucoma in their lifetime; it usually occurs after the age of 40.
THE IMPORTANT SCREENING FOR GLAUCOMA EARLY DETECTION
The disease can proceed unnoticed for years. Visual field defects occur only when around 2/3 of the nerve fibers have already perished. Some patients notice an increasing black spot (scotoma) in the visual field. As glaucoma progresses the field of vision narrows continuously. The disease can lead to complete blindness. A causal cure is not possible – once the nerve fibers have died, the damage cannot be repaired.
It is therefore very important to detect glaucoma as soon as possible. At an early stage of the disease the ophthalmologist can treat glaucoma with medications or if necessary surgery to prevent progression and preserving valuable visual ability.
My recommendation: yearly check-ups from the age of 40 on.