Glaucoma is an eye disease that can affect people of all ages, but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s. It is caused by an imbalance between the pressure inside the eye and the pressure in the blood vessels surrounding the optic nerve. There are two main forms of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma.

Acute angle closure glaucoma

Acute angle closure glaucoma occurs when the drainage in the eye suddenly becomes blocked, which can raise the pressure inside the eye very quickly. This is a medical emergency, as permanent loss of vision may result within a few hours.

Its symptoms:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Sudden blurring of vision
  • Perception of coloured halos around light objects
  • Reddening of the eye

Open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma – the most common form – is caused by increased pressure within the eye due to poor drainage of the fluid in the eye. It tends to develop slowly over many years and at first only affects the edges of the field of vision (peripheral vision). For this reason, many people do not realise they have glaucoma, and it is often only picked up during a routine eye test.

Its symptoms:

Glaucoma is mostly asymptomatic for the first 10 to 20 years, but if any symptoms are noticed during that time, they might include blurred vision or dark shadows in the peripheral vision.


It is not possible to reverse any loss of vision that occurred before the glaucoma was diagnosed, but treatment can help stop the eyesight from deteriorating further. Different treatment options include eye drops to reduce pressure in the eye, laser treatment to reduce the production of fluid in the eyes, or surgery to improve the drainage of fluid.

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