This course is designed for patients with a diagnosis of glaucoma or their friends and family members. It aims to provide an understanding of everything you need to know to live with a diagnosis of glaucoma through a combination of videos and tests designed by health care professionals working in the field of Ophthalmology.
You can do the course in your own time and can dip in and out of the course to cover those bits which are of particular interest to you.
We hope that the course gives a good introduction but are keen to make it even better so if you have any suggestions about ways that we can improve the course we'd really like to hear from you.
This lesson explains a few basic facts about glaucoma. In it you'll learn about the following facts:
Glaucoma is also known as "the silent thief of sight". This is because most people experience no symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma.
This lesson discusses glaucoma symptoms and highlights the importance of regular eye examinations in order to diagnose and monitor glaucoma.
This lesson discusses several things that are known to increase a person's risk of developing glaucoma:
This lesson discusses the different types of glaucoma.
Most patients with glaucoma don’t have any symptoms and can’t tell if it’s getting worse. It’s therefore vital to have regular eye check-ups.
At each visit an assessment will be made of three things
It is important to assess how these three elements change over time – an accurate record of your care is therefore essential.
This lesson explains how regular eye checks can show if your glaucoma is getting worse and allow preventative action to be taken.
Eye pressure changes throughout the day. The ideal eye pressure is one at which the eye can function well and not be damaged. This lesson discusses why and how eye pressure is measured.
The drainage structures of they eye are damaged in glaucoma. They are found in the "angle".This is the angle formed between the cornea and the iris.
This lesson describes how these structures can be examined by applying a contact lens containing a mirror to the eye. This is called gonioscopy.
Examination of these structures can tell your eye doctor what type of glaucoma you have.
Is your glaucoma caused by blockage of the drainage structures by
Patients are often not aware that a bit of the visual field is missing because the brain fills in the blanks. The visual field test assesses how well the optic nerve is working and documents these missing bits of vision.
Regular field testing is the best way to show if glaucoma is getting worse over time. This lesson discusses why visual field testing is conducted and gives pointers about how to perform a good field test.
When you are doing your visual field test
Pictures of the optic nerve head allow your eye doctor to see if your glaucoma is changing. There are several ways to take pictures of the optic nerve head and this lesson describes a few of them.
There are many treatments for glaucoma all of which aim to reduce the intraocular pressure (eye pressure). This lesson gives an overview of the different types of treatment currently available.
Intraocular pressure can be reduced by
The right intraocular pressure has been achieved when no further visual field or vision loss occurs.
This “target” intraocular pressure is different for all patients and each patient should have an individual intraocular pressure “target” which can be achieved by using medicines, lasers or surgery.
Glaucoma is a chronic disease, it cannot be cured. Treatment is therefore a lifelong process.
This lesson discusses the three things your eye doctor needs to consider in order to provide you with appropriate treatment.
When you are first diagnosed the aim will be to reduce your eye pressure by 30%, a third
Your eye doctor will then monitor you closely to see if your glaucoma is getting worse slowly or quickly
If your glaucoma is getting worse quickly, at a rate that will result in severe visual impairment in your lifetime, your eye doctor may recommend more intensive treatment. This may either be more drops, laser treatment or a glaucoma operation.
This lesson explores the five different types of glaucoma medication (drops) and discusses why different medications may be recommended by your eye doctor.
This lesson describes how lasers can be a useful alternative treatment for glaucoma in some patients
Four types of laser are commonly used in glaucoma
If eye drops fail to control your glaucoma you may require surgery. This lesson covers some of the different operations for glaucoma and discusses the most common operation ”trabeculectomy”.
When a trabeculectomy is performed a trap door is created to allow the fluid inside the eye to slowly drain away under a ”bleb”
Putting in eye drops can be a challenge. This lesson gives some helpful tips including:
Patient with glaucoma are often unaware that their peripheral vision has been damaged. This is because the brain tricks you and fills in the bits of the visual field that can't be seen.
Patients with glaucoma can be a danger to other road users when driving. This lesson covers the effects of glaucoma on vision and the legal requirements to drive if you have a diagnosis of glaucoma.
This lesson describes how glaucoma may run in families.
If you have a diagnosis of glaucoma close family members (father, mother, sisters, brothers, children) should seek eye testing when over the age of forty.
In the United Kingdom eye tests are free over the age of 40 for people with a family history of glaucoma.
It is important to know where to find reliable information about glaucoma. This lesson covers some of the places that you might look for further information.
Patients can lose central or peripheral vision or both. Patients with glaucoma typically lose periferal vision first.
Low vision care is important because it can improve and make best use of the vision that is left. This lesson describes several low vision aids and strategies that can be used or learned to maximise the remaining vision.
If you’re having problems with your vision ask about referral for a low vision assessment.
If you've got any thoughts about how we could improve the course please do get in touch.
This course has been produced by a group of European eye doctors who are members of the European Glaucoma Panel. This lesson gives a brief introduction to the different members of the team.
We’re a group of eye doctors from all over Europe who have been working together to create this course. The internet is full of information about glaucoma but a lot of it is not of very good quality. We hope this course will provide patients with glaucoma the opportunity to discover more about their condition, to really understand what glaucoma is all about and to learn how to manage it effectively.