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Have you ever heard of glaucoma as a “silent thief of sight”? It is because it slowly damages the eyes and can cause irreparable harm before there is any vision loss. There is no pain or symptoms, nor is there any recovery from the disease. Causes of glaucoma include high myopia/ hyperopia, sleep apnoea, chronic migraine, etc. If you have these causes, you should have regular eye examinations and seek immediate treatment advice from your eye doctor once glaucoma is detected.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is usually caused by excessive internal eye pressure, resulting in progressive degeneration to the retina and fibres on the optic nerve in the posterior chamber of the eye. Yet, there are cases where the normal pressure (within 10-21 mmHg) the optic nerve is still unable to withstand and is thus damaged, resulting in visual loss. Patients with glaucoma may experience peripheral vision loss followed by a decrease in central vision. Vision loss or even complete blindness may occur without proper treatment. Glaucoma has no obvious signs and symptoms and is usually difficult to detect. Many patients may be ignorant about their condition until the field of vision has sustained irreversible narrowing damage. Women are at higher risk of developing acute glaucoma, especially in middle age and beyond. However, even children can develop such illness.

excessive internal eye pressure

Types of Glaucoma

Chronic Glaucoma

Chronic Glaucoma
There is no apparent symptom in the early stage. In the later stages of the disease, the vision field is narrowed and only the central vision is left, so that patients cannot see images beyond the central field of vision, forming a “tunnel vision”. If the condition continues to deteriorate, it could lead to total blindness.

Acute Glaucoma

Acute Glaucoma
Sudden increase in eye pressure may cause acute glaucoma with the following symptoms: blurred vision, seeing rainbow circles around lights, eye redness, corneal opacity, severe eye pain and associated headache, nausea and vomiting. Acute glaucoma may cause permanent loss of vision within a day, it is therefore necessary to seek early medical attention.

Primary and Secondary Glaucoma

There is no apparent cause of primary glaucoma, and patients with this condition are affected by other factors. As for secondary glaucoma, it is caused by other diseases that result in elevation of the eye pressure, including hypermature cataract, iritis, intraocular haemorrhage, tumours, trauma, postoperative complications and inappropriate use of steroids and so forth.

Causes of Glaucoma

Aged 40 or above

Aged 40 or above


Family history


History of eye injury
(especially blunt trauma)

High myopia/hyperopia

High myopia/hyperopia



Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea


Chronic migraine


Cardiovascular disease




Increased eye pressure
due to steroid use

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Chronic Glaucoma

No obvious sign and symptom in the early stage. Over time, the peripheral vision shrinks and the patient loses central vision.

Acute Glaucoma

Eye redness, seeing rainbow circles around lights, vision loss, eye pain, headache and vomiting, etc.



Until now, there is no cure for glaucoma. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, however, vision loss can be prevented or slowed down.


Eye Drops

Initially, medication (eye drops) can be used to control the disease. It protects and maintains the patient's optic nerve tissue and its function by controlling intraocular pressure levels to within the appropriate range to reduce further damage to the optic nerve. The main objective is to stabilise vision function. Eye drops bring on fewer serious side effects than other treatment options and are safer than surgery and laser treatment.


Laser and Surgical Treatments

If medication does not control the condition, laser or surgical treatment may be considered, for example, trabeculectomy, surgical drain, glaucoma shunt implantation, cyclocryotherapy or cyclophotocoagulation, argon laser peripheral iridoplasty (APLI) or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery. Recent medical evidence suggests that selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) may be the preferred treatment for glaucoma patients.


Prolonged use of eye drops may cause dryness and redness in the eyes and may even cause allergy and discomfort.

Glaucoma Public-Private Partnership Programme (Glaucoma PPP)

Vivid Eye Centre has joined the Glaucoma PPP organized by Hospital Authority, under which each participating patient will receive up to four subsidised consultations per year, including specified drugs for treating glaucoma, and investigation services of up to one visual field (VF) test and one optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan per year to be provided by the private ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma FAQ

No, there is a type of glaucoma called low-tension glaucoma, where the eye pressure is below 21mmHg (glaucoma is generally suspected when the eye pressure is above 21mmHg).

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