Glaucoma is a common eye condition which is generally caused by a build-up of pressure in the eye due to the fluid being unable to drain properly. This increase in pressure causes damage to the optic nerve which is responsible for transferring the image seen by the eye, to the brain. 

Damage to the Optic Nerve affects the edge of your vision (peripheral vision) first, thus it commonly goes unnoticed and is often only picked up during a routine eye test. 

You can listen to information about glaucoma by playing the recording below.

The signs and symptoms of most types of glaucoma’s can be very subtle – cloudy or blurred vision, especially if one eye is closed, reading, driving and mobility become more difficult.  


It is important that a diagnosis is made as early as possible to effectively control Glaucoma.  

People are more at risk of developing Glaucoma with age. It is less common in people under the age of 40.  

People of Afro-Caribbean origin and those with a family history of Glaucoma are also at a higher risk, as are people with diabetes, high blood pressure or short or long sightedness.  

There is also increased risk associated with taking certain medications.  

During a routine eye examination, the following tests may show that you have signs of Glaucoma.  

  • Visual Field Test – to check your peripheral vision 

  • Eye Pressure Test – measures the pressure within the eye 

  • Optic Nerve Assessment – looking at the back of the eye to check the health of the optic nerve. This will look different if you have Glaucoma.   

If the Optometrists finds signs of Glaucoma while carrying out the above tests, they will refer you to an Ophthalmologist at a hospital. 


Glaucoma cannot be cured or reversed but with the right medical treatment, the damage can be slowed or in some cases, stopped.   

Glaucoma can be treated using medicines, eye-drops, laser treatment or surgery. The treatment needed will depend on the type of Glaucoma diagnosed and the persons health and medical history.   

If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to irreversible sight loss.   

Congenital Glaucoma which occurs in babies born with a problem in their eye that prevents fluid from draining normally. Children with congenital glaucoma may have: 

•       Have cloudy eyes. 

•       Sensitivity to light.

•       Produce extra tears. 

•       May have eyes that are larger than normal because of the pressure build up in the eye.

In most cases, if babies get diagnosed and surgery carried out early enough, they usually won’t have any permanent vision loss. 

Several other types of glaucoma can also develop in children and secondary childhood glaucoma may occur where there is an underlying medical condition.

A child getting a routine eye examination where they have their chin on the eye scanner.

We will work with you to ensure you are as independent and safe as possible in everyday life from cooking and reading to helping you enjoy much-loved hobbies. 

- Sharon, Rehabilitation Officer

How we can help 

  • Understand your eye condition and the importance of treatment 

  • Maintain independence and continue to do what you enjoy 

Our Family Wellbeing Team can offer support online, over the phone or face to face during a home visit to give advice and practical and emotional support to help make life easier. 

Call our free support line today

0800 024 8973

Our freephone support line is open Monday to Friday 9am till 5pm. 

A picture of Debbie our sight scotland community worker holding a cut out sign with the family wellbeing support line number on it

Life with a Glaucoma doesn’t need to be scary

Contact our Support Line