What is Glaucoma & Retinopathy?
Retinopathy is a general term that refers to some form of non-inflammatory damage to the retina of the eye. Frequently, retinopathy is an ocular manifestation of systemic disease.
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, permanently damaging vision in the affected eye(s) and progressing to complete blindness if untreated. It is often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye (aqueous humour). The term 'ocular hypertension' is used for cases having constantly raised intraocular pressure (IOP) without any associated optic nerve damage. Conversely, the term 'normal' or 'low tension glaucoma' is suggested for the typical visual field defects when associated with a normal or low IOP.
The nerve damage involves loss of retinal ganglion cells in a characteristic pattern. There are many different subtypes of glaucoma, but they can all be considered a type of optic neuropathy. Raised intraocular pressure is a significant risk factor for developing glaucoma. One person may develop nerve damage at a relatively low pressure, while another person may have high eye pressure for years and yet never develop damage. Untreated glaucoma leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve and resultant visual field loss, which can progress to blindness.