Vision Conditions

Glaucoma

GlaucomaGlaucoma is a group of eye disorders which lead to progressive damage to the optic nerve, a bundle of some one million individual nerve fibers that transmits visual signals from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40, although a congenital or infantile form of glaucoma also exists. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanics over the age of 60 are at highest risk of developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation, and using medications that increase the pressure in the eyes.

The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is 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, resulting in a loss of vision. Many people do not become aware they have the condition until significant vision loss has occurred. It initially affects peripheral or side vision, but can advance to central vision loss. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant loss of vision in both eyes, and may even lead to blindness.

Medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. However, vision already lost to glaucoma cannot be restored. That is why we recommend an annual dilated eye examination be performed for people at risk for glaucoma as a routine, preventive eye care measure. Depending on your specific condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent examinations.