What Is Glaucoma
- Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
- 1 in 200 adults aged 50 and older have glaucoma.
- 1 in 10 adults aged 80 and older have glaucoma.
- People with an African-American descent, medical conditions like diabetes, or with a family history are at a higher risk and can contract the disease at an earlier age.
- If you are over the age of 40, you should have an eye exam at least once every five years. If you are at a higher risk, you should have an eye exam once a year.
Aqueous humor is a fluid that flows between your cornea and the iris of your eye. Among other things, this fluid maintains the intraocular pressure of your eye and provides essential nutrients to the eye. This fluid leaves the eye from a mesh-like canal, but when the canal is blocked or damaged, the fluid begins to build up and cause pressure within the eye. This pressure doesn’t happen quickly so it is usually only detected when the disease has moderately advanced.
Blindness occurs when glaucoma damages your optic nerve – the nerve that transmits images from your eye to your brain. Left untreated, if glaucoma causes this damage, it cannot be undone.
Traditionally, patients suffering from glaucoma have the disease because they inherited it. However, injury (chemical or physical) to the eye, blockage of blood vessels, certain medical conditions, or even severe eye infection can sometimes cause glaucoma.