Chronic Glaucoma

Below we explain what Chronic Glaucoma is, who is affected by it, what causes it, what the symptoms are, and any available treatment options.

Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye conditions which cause optic nerve damage and can affect vision.  Chronic Glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and is outlined here . Information on the other types of glaucoma can be found by referring to the further reading section below.

Damage to the optic nerve (the nerve from the eye to the brain), most often caused by raised eye pressure, leads to progressive loss of vision. This is very difficult to detect in the early stages and is irreversible. Left untreated all sight may eventually be lost .

The likelihood of developing the condition is increased by:

  • Age – 5% of people aged over 65 years develop chronic glaucoma
  • Race – people of West African origin are more likely to develop chronic glaucoma
  • Having a previously affected close relative increases the likelihood of developing glaucoma
  • Being very short sighted increases the chances of developing the condition
  • People with diabetes are also more at risk


  • Peripheral vision gradually gets worse
  • Tunnel vision
The Palace Theatre and Principle Hotel as seen by somebody with Glaucoma
Piccadilly Gardens as seen by somebody with Glaucoma

The Palace Theatre and Principle Hotel and Piccadilly Gardens as seen by somebody with Glaucoma


Diagnosis is difficult because there are no symptoms until the disease is well advanced. Routine yearly sight tests from the age of 50 are the best protection. An Optometrist will carry out tests to detect or exclude the disease and will refer you to an eye specialist if necessary.


Once diagnosed, it is important to have regular check-ups with an Ophthalmologist. Treatment usually begins with eye drops to lower eye pressure. Other treatments such as laser therapy or surgery may be advised, depending on whether the disease is stable or progressing.

Further online information


This information can be made available in Braille, or audio CD should you require it, from

Explore our other pages on eye conditions

Retinitis pigmentosa | Cataracts | Charles Bonnet Syndrome | Diabetic Retinopathy | Nystagmus | Macular degeneration | Hemianopia


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