What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, resulting in loss of vision. The optic nerve is a bundle of approximately one million individual nerve fibers and transmits the visual signals from the eye to the brain. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is often associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. This increase in pressure may cause progressive damage to the optic nerve and loss of nerve fibers. Advanced glaucoma may even cause blindness. There are many types of glaucoma and theories regarding the causes. The exact cause of glaucoma is not known, and it cannot currently be prevented.

Who is at Risk? 

People of all ages can develop glaucoma, but it most frequently occurs in:

• Caucasians and Hispanics over age 60
• African Americans over age 40
• People with a family history of glaucoma
• People who have eye-related risk factors, such as eye trauma, thin corneas, high myopia, retinal detachments, and eye inflammation
• People who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease

How Can It Be Treated?

In most cases, Glaucoma can be treated effectively by using prescription eye drops or other medicines. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Unfortunately, any loss of vision from glaucoma typically cannot be restored. However, early detection, prompt treatment, and regular monitoring can enable you to continue living in much the same way as you have always lived.


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