Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It's usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye.
Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if it's not diagnosed and treated early. It can affect people of all ages, but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s.
Here at the West of England Eye Unit, we have a specialist glaucoma department, where we diagnose and treat this condition.
More on what we do
If you have glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can help stop your vision getting worse. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness.
Several quick and painless tests can be carried out to check for glaucoma, including vision tests and measurements of the pressure inside your eye.
If tests suggest you have glaucoma, you'll be referred to one of our specialist eye doctors (ophthalmologists) or high-level practitioners to discuss treatment.
Treatment can help stop your vision getting worse.
The treatment recommended for you will depend on the type of glaucoma you have, but the options are:
Eye drops: to reduce the pressure in your eyes
Laser treatment: to open up the blocked drainage areas or reduce the production of fluid in your eyes
Surgery: to improve the drainage of fluid. Glaucoma operations are normally carried out in our day case unit in RD&E Wonford, under a local anaesthetic. The purpose of the operation is to reduce the pressure in the eye and prevent further damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. There are a range of operations that could be considered, and the glaucoma specialists will talk you through the suitable options on a case-by-case basis.
Whatever option is planned for you, it's likely that you'll need regular appointments to monitor your condition and check the treatment is working.
Consultants: Mr Daniel Byles and Mr Michael Smith
Lead Nurse Practitioner: Carly Slade
Specialist Optometrist Practitioner: Elizabeth Sullivan
Where to find us
RD&E Heavitree, Gladstone Rd, Exeter EX1 2ED
Level 1, Outpatients Department
The glaucoma unit is a standalone unit at Heavitree Hospital – please check your appointment letter to confirm the location.
To contact the glaucoma unit, call 01392 406045.
If the secretary is not able to answer your call, please leave a message with your name, date of birth and hospital number, if available. This will be checked on a regular basis.
Patient leaflets and documents
Some glaucoma services are also provided at a number of community hospitals. If you wish to be seen closer to home, please ask your doctor if this is appropriate, as where you can be seen may depend on the nature of your condition.