Does glaucoma need urgent treatment?

With acute glaucoma it’s a one of the few ophthalmic emergencies and it needs to be treated really within the day. With chronic glaucoma, as I mentioned, the patients don’t have the symptoms and that’s the danger. Because there is gradual loss of field of vision and the patient doesn’t find out until right at the end of the process when the find that all of their vision is gone.

Now, chronic glaucoma in the vast majority of cases doesn’t have a specific cause. There may be a hereditary component and family history. But for most people it just arises de novo. There are patients in whom there are ocular conditions where they get chronicle glaucoma. So there is a pseudoexfoliation syndrome where little pieces fall off ligaments which support the lens and block the drainage channels for fluid going out of the eye.

It can also be associated with dispersion of pigments from the iris within the eye, again blocking the drainage channels from the eye. But in the vast majority of cases, there is no specific cause found.

More about Paul Rosen

Paul Rosen is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at The Grange Eye Consultants. His special expertise is in laser eye surgery, cataract surgery, and the treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal diseases. He has over 20 years experience in treating people with eye problems. Paul is invited to lecture on cataract and refractive surgery both nationally and internationally. He leads clinical trials investigating novel eye treatments. Paul has served as the President of the UK and Ireland Society of Refractive Surgeons and is currently the President of the European Society of Corneal and Refractive Surgery. More recently I’d been appointed as a member of the NICE Cataract Guidelines Committee and also on the Refractive Surgery Subcommittee of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.