Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that lead to progressive damage to the optic nerve. People with glaucoma can lose nerve tissue, resulting in vision loss.
The most common cause of glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure. This pressure can lead to damage to the optic nerve, resulting in peripheral vision loss. Since glaucoma tends to be a slow-progressing disease, most patients do not recognize that glaucoma is affecting them, thus robbing them of their site. Glaucoma damage is irreversible and must be detected early in the process to prevent vision loss.
Not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma, and some people with normal eye pressure will develop glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S. The most common form of glaucoma is called primary open angle glaucoma. This type of disease develops slowly and usually without any symptoms. Initially, glaucoma affects peripheral or side vision, but it can advance to central vision loss. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss in both eyes and may even lead to blindness.
A less common type of glaucoma, acute angle closure glaucoma, usually occurs abruptly due to a rapid increase of pressure in the eye. Its symptoms may include severe eye pain, nausea, redness in the eye, seeing haloes or colored rings around lights and blurred vision. This is an emergency condition in which severe vision loss can occur quickly.
Glaucoma can not be prevented, however, if diagnosed and treated early, it can usually be controlled. Medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. Since vision cannot be restored, it’s of the upmost importance to detect and treat as soon as possible.