WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. The most common type of glaucoma is open angle glaucoma. However, with early detection and treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR OPEN-ANGLE GLAUCOMA?
Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people, listed below, are at higher risk than others:
African Americans over age 40
Everyone over age 60
People with a family history of glaucoma
A comprehensive dilated eye exam can reveal more risk factors, such as high eye pressure, thinness of the cornea, and abnormal optic nerve anatomy. In some people with certain combinations of these high-risk factors, medicines in the form of eyedrops reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by about half.
At first, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms. It causes no pain and vision remains normal. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes.
Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral (side) vision. As glaucoma remains untreated, people may miss objects to the side and out of the corner of their eye. They seem to be looking through a tunnel. Over time, straight-ahead (central) vision may decrease until no vision remains.
Information provided courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH).