Glaucoma is a term used to describe a group of diseases that can lead to optic nerve damage and result in blindness. It most often occurs in people over 40, although it may affect younger people. People with a family history of glaucoma, people over 60, African Americans, and those with diabetes are at greater risk for developing glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, and it is estimated that nearly half the people who have it do not know it.
Glaucoma often raises the internal pressure in the eye, but the eye doesn’t feel this pressure. Glaucoma is sometimes called the “sneak thief” of eyesight because it is painless but can be blinding. During your comprehensive eye examination, we will use a tonometer to measure this eye fluid pressure, as well as dilate your pupils to allow a thorough view of the optic nerve.
Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early it can be controlled so that vision loss is minimized. We can usually treat glaucoma with pressure-lowering eye drops. In some cases, laser treatment or surgery is effective in lowering pressure and preventing vision loss.