Glaucoma Overview

Glaucoma is a significant problem affecting more than 65 million people worldwide. The “silent” disease is characterized by elevated pressure in the eye and can cause blindness if it is left untreated. The elevated pressure is caused by a backup of fluid in the eye, which over time causes damage to the optic nerve. When the optic nerve is harmed or left untreated, patients with glaucoma begin to lose eyesight.

Risk Factors
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However, there are certain groups that are at greater risk and require additional attention. Increased risk factors for developing glaucoma include*:
  • People over the age of 60
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High intraocular pressure
  • People of African descent
  • Other factors such as diabetes, nearsightedness, steroid use or previous eye injury

    *Source: Glaucoma Research Foundation

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Glaucoma is a chronic disease with virtually no symptoms except for gradual loss of vision over time. Because glaucoma has no warning symptoms, half of its victims are unaware that they have the condition. Early detection and continuous monitoring is therefore vital to slowing the progression of the disease. Visiting your eye doctor on a regular basis, especially if you have known risk factors, is currently the best way to determine if you have high pressure in your eye. Your physician or other medical professional will perform a series of standard, non-invasive exams to establish a diagnosis.