Glaucoma is an eye condition where your optic nerve is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. Most types of glaucoma have no symptoms, so a regular eye test is the only way to know you have the condition. Treatment with drops can often prevent glaucoma causing sight loss.
Our Understanding Glaucoma guide is accredited by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. It’s designed to give you a detailed understanding of your eye condition and helpful advice on next steps.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions that cause permanent sight loss by damaging your optic nerve.
You may not notice any difference in your vision because glaucoma affects your peripheral vision (also known as your side vision) first. As your peripheral vision is not as sensitive as your central vision, it’s difficult to notice any early changes to your vision – but your sight is being damaged.
There is no treatment to restore sight loss caused by glaucoma but treatments, such as eye drops and laser surgery, can help prevent sight loss from happening.
Glaucoma can be caused by raised eye pressure or a weakness in your optic nerve.
Your eye needs a certain amount of pressure to keep the eyeball healthy and in the right shape. But if the pressure is too high, it can cause your optic nerve to become damaged at the point where it leaves your eye.
All treatment for glaucoma aims to lower your eye pressure to prevent damage to your optic nerve and your sight.
Treatment to lower your eye pressure usually starts with eye drops, and for most people with glaucoma, this is all the treatment they will ever need.
Sometimes, laser treatment or surgery may also be needed to help control your eye pressure and prevent sight loss.
Your ophthalmologist (hospital eye doctor) will be able to discuss the best treatment for you. You can take a more in-depth look at the different treatments for each type of glaucoma in our Understanding Glaucoma download guide (see the top of this page).
Lots of people who have treatment for their glaucoma don't have any sight problems because the treatment prevents sight loss.
But if your glaucoma does cause changes to your sight, we’re here to support you every step of the way – just give our Helpline a call. You might also find it helpful to talk to our Eye Health team about your eye condition, get support from our Sight Loss Counselling service, or find out how to register as sight impaired.
Below are some guides that may be useful:
For information about Northern Ireland please download our Benefits, Concessions and Certification in Northern Ireland leaflet:
Knowing RNIB is there is so reassuring, like a comfort blanket
We can help you maximise your vision and make the most of the sight you have. You can contact our Helpline for support, or start by reading our guides on making the most of your sight and on enjoying leisure when living with sight loss.
If you haven’t already, why not join RNIB Connect and get connected to other people affected by sight loss locally and across the country? Or try our free Talking Books service to enjoy reading in an accessible format, or tune into RNIB Connect Radio to hear news, information and advice for people affected by sight loss.
The International Glaucoma Association provides support and information to people with glaucoma
The NHS Choices website has information about glaucoma.