Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye conditions that cause permanent sight loss by damaging your optic nerve. 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. If the pressure is too high, it can damage your optic nerves.

Types of glaucoma

  1. Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma. It’s a chronic condition which means damage to your optic nerve occurs as well as gradual changes to your sight.
  2. Acute angle closure glaucoma happens when your eye pressure rises very suddenly. It’s very painful and can cause permanent damage to your sight if it’s not treated quickly.
  3. Secondary glaucoma occurs as a result of another eye condition, eye injury or inflammation, eye surgery complications, diabetes and the use of certain medications.
  4. Congenital glaucoma is a very rare condition that affects young babies. It’s usually diagnosed in early years and managed by specialist clinics.

Video animation of Glaucoma

Video animation of Glaucoma

Source: National Eye Institute (NEI)​


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 needed.

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.

Over time the disease develops into a loss of peripheral (side) vision. If glaucoma is untreated it could advance to later stages where central vision narrows to "tunnel" vision, or it may result in blindness. Early detection and treatment is essential to prevent severe vision loss or blindness.

There is no treatment to restore sight loss caused by glaucoma.

The number of people estimated to be blind as a result of primary glaucoma is 4.5 million, accounting for slightly more than twelve per cent of all global blindness.




CNIB​ ​​​​​​