Glaucoma... The Silent Thief of Sight

Acute Glaucoma Requires Immediate Treatment
As it does not have any symptoms in the early stages, and can lead to vision loss if not diagnosed and treated in time, glaucoma is an eye condition that is known as “the silent thief of sight”.

Glaucoma is a condition caused by damage to the optic nerve, resulting from increased pressure in the eyes, eventually leading to the loss of vision. Eye pressure is considered to be high when it is above 22 mm HG (Normal eye pressure ranges from 5-22 mm HG) and is an important risk factor for glaucoma.

Who is at risk?

People who are at increased risk include anyone over the age of 40, people with a family history of glaucoma, people with high eye pressure, people who have had an eye injury, people taking steroid medications, people with near and far sightedness, and people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or migraines.

No Early Warning Signs

An unfortunate fact about glaucoma is that it usually does not present any warning signs in its early stages. The condition begins with the loss of peripheral vision. If left untreated, this loss of sight will spread slowly to central vision. The effect is so gradual that changes in vision may not be noticed until the condition is already at an advanced stage.



Acute Glaucoma Requires Immediate Treatment

Acute glaucoma is not a common condition, however it requires emergent treatment. This condition is caused by a rapid or sudden increase in pressure inside the eye. The symptoms are very severe. If a patient suddenly experiences a severe headache, eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, halos around lights, nausea, and vomiting, please seek immediate medical attention.


The goal of glaucoma treatment is to slow down damage to the optic nerve and maintain vision for as long as possible. Treatment options vary, depending on the type and stage of the condition. The doctor will choose the most appropriate treatment option for each patient. However, there are 3 main treatment options, which include eye drops (apply regularly as directed by the doctor), laser treatment, and conventional surgery.

After the treatment begins, the patient will need to make follow-up appointments so that the doctor can evaluate and monitor the treatment results, the stage of the condition and any complications.

Glaucoma Screening

The damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, but risk analysis, diagnosis, and early treatment can help. People over the age 40 or those with certain risk factors should undergo glaucoma screening in order to evaluate their risk for the condition.

Glaucoma Screening
People with no risk factors
People with risk factors*
18-39 years  At least 1 time  Every 1-2 years or as directed by the doctor
40-64 years  Every 2-4 years  Every 1-2 years or as directed by the doctor
65 years or older  Every 1-2 years  Every year or as directed by the doctor
*People with risk factors include those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure; those with certain eye conditions, including retinal detachment; those who have had an eye injury; those with a family history of eye conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration; those whose work requires their eyes to focus for long periods; those using medications that affect the eyes; and those who wear contact lenses.

By Dr. Orathai Suwanpimonkul, Ophthalmologist, Eye Center, Bumrungrad Hospital
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Posted by Bumrungrad International