What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of related diseases where the optic nerve is being damaged. The nerve fibres progressively die taking away the peripheral or side vision first. Therefore visual loss goes undetected until it is quite advanced.
Glaucoma is the number one cause of preventable blindness in New Zealand and other developed countries.
At the back of the eyeball, there is a nerve called the optic nerve that carries the signals from the eye to the brain.
The eye is like a modern digital camera. We take a photograph, we connect the camera to a computer and we down-load the image. For the eye, an image is focused on the retina inside it; the image-message is then down-loaded through the optic nerve to the brain so that we see.
Glaucoma causes irreversible damage to this nerve, like cutting the cable connecting the digital camera to the computer. Unfortunately the optic nerve cannot be repaired