Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which is vital to good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but at high risk are African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60 and 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 eye drops reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by about half.
Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods. The goal of any treatment is to prevent loss of vision, as vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible.