Eye Health

Updated 25 July 2018

Glaucoma: course and prognosis

If left untreated, glaucoma leads to a gradual, progressive loss of vision.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is a chronic, lifelong condition. If left untreated, it leads to a gradual, progressive loss of vision. 

If you have this condition, you’ll have to go for regular checkups at your ophthalmologist to check that your treatment is working and that there’s no further damage. 

When the pressure in the eye is reduced to a certain level, the damage usually stops. But some people require an even lower intraocular pressure.

The only way to determine if this is true for you is to regularly check in with your doctor to determine if the damage is becoming worse, or not.

If the damage progresses, more medications may be added to your treatment regime, or further surgery may be performed.

The prognosis of POAG is usually good in those who use their medication properly and follow up regularly.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma (AACG) tends to follow a different course. This is a less common form of glaucoma caused by a sudden mechanical obstruction to the flow of fluid out of the eye.

Typically, this is experienced as severe pain in the eye and/or headache. The prognosis is good if the condition is treated early.  

Reviewed by ophthalmologist Dr Tshilidzi van der Lecq. MBChB (UCT), Mmed (Ophth), FC Ophth (SA). March 2018.


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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