Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve becomes damaged leading to loss of vision and in some cases blindness.  It is usually associated with elevated pressure inside the eye but can occur even with normal intraocular pressure.  Research has found that some people’s optic nerves are more susceptible to damage.  When this occurs, the optic nerve tissue slowly dies and vision is lost permanently.

Open angle glaucoma, the most common form, has no symptoms until a substantial amount of peripheral vision is lost. Risk factors for glaucoma include age over 40, family history of glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and African ancestry.

An eye exam includes a measurement of the pressure of the eye as well as an evaluation of the optic nerve.  If there are any suspicious findings found during this exam, special tests are ordered to look for evidence of glaucoma.  Treatments for glaucoma include prescription eyedrops that lower the pressure of the eye.  Laser treatment and other surgical treatments are used if the eye drops are not effective enough.