Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness throughout the world affecting millions of people. It is a disease of the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the pathway that carries the images we see to the brain. If left untreated, the disease can destroy the optic nerve leading to loss of vision.
It is estimated that over 2 million Americans have glaucoma and this number is expected to rise as more of our population grows older. Glaucoma may affect anyone. However, factors that increase a person’s risk include:
-Injury or Trauma to the Eye
With proper medical care, glaucoma may be treated and controlled. Since most people with glaucoma experience no noticeable symptoms, an eye examination for glaucoma including specialized testing is the most important tool in preventing vision loss from the disease. If diagnosed at an early stage, glaucoma can often be controlled and little or no further vision loss may occur. If left untreated, first peripheral vision and then central vision will be affected and blindness may result.
Glaucoma is usually effectively treated with prescription eye drops and medicines that must be taken regularly. In some cases, laser therapy or surgery may be required. The goal of the treatment is to prevent loss of vision by lowering the pressure in the eye.