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Suite 5A, Level 1, 1-17 Elsie Street

Burwood NSW 2134


(02) 8090 8010


This is a group of diseases that damage the nerve of sight as it leaves the eye. The eye converts the image of the world into electricity and sends it down a wire to the brain for further processing. This wire has more than a million fibres, which are irreversibly and gradually damaged in glaucoma as they leave the eye. In the majority of patients it affects the peripheral (side) vision first. Peripheral vision is useful for navigation and danger detection. Most people however, do not know how much peripheral vision they had yesterday so they cannot tell if they are losing peripheral vision.  In glaucoma the initial loss of peripheral vision goes unnoticed until it threatens the central vision. Central vision is used for reading near and far. When an individual loses this vision, the significant impact on quality of life leads to medical help being sought. Thus glaucoma is called the sneak thief of sight.


Because glaucoma is asymptomatic and affects peripheral vision it is difficult for a patient  to detect their own glaucoma. Usually individuals present to their optometrist or general practitioners who perform an assessment and refer them to us for further testing if there are any concerns. Our assessment involves determining your risk factor profile, measuring your pressure, assessing the area that drains fluid out of the eye, capturing a digital image of the nerve of sight and performing a visual field test (peripheral vision test). Based on all the information collected a decision is then made regarding the presence of glaucoma.


Risk Factors

The risk factors for glaucoma are advancing age, family history, high eye pressure (this is different from blood pressure), being short or long sighted, a history of diabetes and/or high blood pressure. These are only risk factors and one can have some or all of the risk factors and still not have glaucoma. Certainly, people with these risk factors should be throughly assessed for glaucoma.


Glaucoma is treated in the majority of cases with drops. Lasers and drainage surgery are also performed to reduce pressure. The aim of glaucoma treatment is to prevent visual disability while keeping the side-effects of treatment to a minimum.  At present, treatment cannot return sight that has been lost. Compliance with the treatment prescribed is very important in preventing further damage.