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The Sneak Thief of Sight: Glaucoma Risks, Identification & Treatment


Glaucoma, also known as the “sneak thief of sight” is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide due to its ability to cause damage to the eye even before a diagnosis.

Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve, which links the eye to the brain, is damaged by eye pressure. In the long term, glaucoma’s progressive and irreversible damage results in permanent eyesight loss. Damage that has already occurred cannot be repaired, but if it is caught early enough, we can reduce the eye pressure and stop the damage from getting worse. Regular checks for glaucoma can result in a prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent potentially detrimental outcomes.

As a leading Sunshine Coast glaucoma specialist and ophthalmologist, Dr Michael Karpa has compiled these crucial facts you should be aware of regarding the risks of glaucoma, how to identify it and treatment options.

Causes and Risks

Anyone can get glaucoma, but several risk factors make it more likely for you to do so. It is important that you schedule routine eye exams if you have any of these risk factors:

Family History

Glaucoma risk is significantly influenced by genes. Some genetic diseases are triggered by a single set of genes, but glaucoma is polygenic, meaning that it is caused by potentially hundreds of genes, each of which modifies a person’s chance of developing the condition to varying degrees.

You must consider your family history carefully. Does anyone in your family currently have or have ever had glaucoma? You can ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist Sunshine Coast how often and at what age you should be checked for glaucoma if the disease runs in your family.


Another significant glaucoma risk factor is age. In general, glaucoma risk and severity rise with age. Although genes are acquired at birth, some of their effects do not manifest until much later in life. The age at which your ancestors’ glaucoma was first discovered might serve as a reference for when to start monitoring if you have a family history of the disease.

Eye Trauma

Glaucoma can result from eye injuries that occurred in previous years. It can take years or even decades after the initial trauma for glaucoma to manifest. If one of your eyes has been injured, you should get your ocular pressure checked often.

Eye Conditions

Glaucoma risk is higher in eyes that have had many procedures or surgeries, as well as other illnesses and ailments. Glaucoma may result from numerous surgeries for corneal or retinal illnesses, previous eye inflammation, bleeding, or issues with the veins and arteries of the eyes.

Individuals who are short-sighted may also have an increased risk of developing glaucoma. The short-sighted eye frequently exhibits glaucoma-like symptoms without really having the disease. Short-sightedness can cause alterations that mimic glaucoma even in glaucoma diagnostic tests like the visual field test. Therefore many patients with more severe short-sightedness require ongoing, thorough glaucoma monitoring.

Health and Lifestyle Conditions

Finding the connections between glaucoma and many prevalent illnesses and lifestyle factors has been a major focus of research in recent years. Some of the risks for glaucoma include excessive caffeine consumption, allergen exposure, certain yoga positions, and wearing tight swimming goggles. Medical disorders with an effect include low blood pressure, unmanaged diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, and recurrent headaches to name a few.

Identifying Glaucoma

Glaucoma is generally un-identifiable until the disease has already progressed and irreversible damage has occurred meaning routine eye exams are the only way to find out if you have glaucoma.

Your optometrist or ophthalmologist Sunshine Coast can use a tonometer to measure the pressure in your eyes during your normal eye exam to screen for glaucoma. If the pressure readings are more than 20 mmHg, you should undergo further testing to rule out glaucoma. glaucoma is not always present in those with elevated intraocular pressure, although it is a significant risk factor.

It’s also important to evaluate your peripheral vision as glaucoma can impair it. This vision exam can be carried out by your local optometrist or ophthalmologist, using specialised equipment.


If you visit your optometrist and they suspect glaucoma, please do not hesitate to arrange an appointment with eye specialist Sunshine Coast, Dr Karpa at Best Practice Eyecare. Dr Karpa is our resident glaucoma treatment Sunshine Coast expert.

It is important to recognise that the damage already incurred from glaucoma cannot be reversed; however, by intervening early, we have a higher chance of protecting your sight. Best Practice Eyecare Sunshine Coast ophthalmologists can provide a range of glaucoma treatments and glaucoma surgeries.

Vitamin B3

Numerous laboratory and clinical research have suggested that vitamin B3 has a beneficial protective effect on glaucoma. Although it has not yet undergone a full clinical study review, this interesting chemical has been demonstrated to protect glaucoma patients’ optic nerves. When visual neurones are under stress from increased pressure, vitamin B3 seems to provide nerve cells with protection against oxidative damage.

Tropical Drops

The more traditional treatment option for managing glaucoma is continual monitoring and the prescription of eyedrops to reduce the pressure in your eyes.


A surgical solution is often the only way to resolve the drainage problem in the eyes, which will relieve the pressure. As a glaucoma surgeon on the Sunshine Coast, Dr Karpa performs a range of surgeries including SLT Laser treatment, YAG PI Laser treatment and a Trabeculectomy. A Trabeculectomy is the most common glaucoma procedure as it aids the drainage of intraocular fluid from the eye’s inside to its outside.


Where Best Practice Eyecare comes in…

At Best Practice Eyecare, our ophthalmologist Sunshine Coast team is led by Dr Karpa, a Fellow of RANZCO, a comprehensive Ophthalmologist and expert in Ophthalmology Sunshine Coast. Whatever the diagnosis, the team at Best Practice Eyecare can help you identify the best treatment option for your case, understand your condition, help you manage it and stop the progression of the disease.

Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach. We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. As a leading cataract surgeon, eye specialist and ophthalmologist Sunshine Coast, Dr Karpa treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataractsglaucomamacular degenerationdry eyes, and flashes & floaters.

Best Practice Eyecare Ophthalmologists

Based on the Sunshine Coast, we provide ophthalmologist, eye care and surgical services of the highest standard. We treat and manage a wide range of eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration and more.

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