Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve. In glaucoma the clear fluid in the front of the eye, known as the aqueous humor, does not flow out of the eye properly.
How Glaucoma Damages the Eye
Fluid pressure in the eye builds up and damages the optic nerve fibers. The optic nerve is responsible for sending signals from the retina to the brain. These signals are then interpreted into images.
Consequently, any damage to the optic nerve translates to loss of vision.
Left Untreated, Glaucoma Can Cause Blindness
Tragically, only about half of the three million Americans who have glaucoma know that they have it. That’s because glaucoma, especially open-angle glaucoma, is often painless. Furthermore, loss of vision can be very slow.
Glaucoma Symptoms Are Rare, But Possible
Occasionally patients report symptoms, including:
- severe eye pain
- eye redness
- blurry vision
These symptoms most often signal an attack of angle-closure glaucoma.
There are many medical and surgical treatments for glaucoma. It is important to note that these treatments can only prevent future loss of vision; they cannot restore vision that has been lost.
Therefore, it is imperative to see your Eye M.D. for regular check-ups. That’s the very best way to prevent damage due to glaucoma.