Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can lead to vision loss and blindness. It is caused by damage to the optic nerve, which is the part of the eye that carries visual information to the brain. The most common cause of this damage is increased pressure inside the eye, but other factors such as genetics and certain diseases can also play a role.
Most patients with early to moderate stage glaucoma do not experience symptoms. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include:
Because symptoms are so rare in the early stages of glaucoma, a yearly comprehensive eye exam is vital to a timely diagnosis. If during the course of the exam your doctor notes any (or especially a combination of) the following signs, they may choose to have you return to perform additional testing:
Certain groups of people are at a higher risk for developing glaucoma, including:
It is important to catch and treat glaucoma as early as possible in order to prevent vision loss. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting and managing the condition.
There is no sure way to prevent glaucoma, but you can reduce your risk by:
If you have glaucoma or are at risk for developing it, it's important to work with your eye doctor to create a treatment plan and schedule regular follow-up appointments. If you have any symptoms of glaucoma, it's important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.