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Glaucoma

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions characterized by irreversible damage to the optic nerve.  This damage to the optic nerve can lead to permanent blindness.  Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and second leading cause of blindness in the world.

When the optic nerve becomes damaged by glaucoma, peripheral vision is usually the first to be lost.  Most patients will not notice the early stages of glaucoma because the loss of peripheral vision is so gradual.  Most types of glaucoma do not cause pain or other noticeable symptoms.

Early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma is essential to minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and vision loss.  

Risk factors


           Family history of glaucoma

           Ethnicity

           Age > 60 years

           Elevated eye pressure

           Prior history of eye trauma or disease

           Extended use of corticosteroids

           Abnormal eye architecture

Symptoms


Most types of glaucoma do not cause pain or other noticeable symptoms in the early stages of the disease.  For this reason, glaucoma will often go undetected until there is severe, irreversible vision loss.

Treatment


The goal of glaucoma treatment is to lower the pressure inside the eye.  This can be achieved using medications, laser procedures, and surgical procedures in the operating room.

Medications used for glaucoma are usually eye drops that lower the eye pressure.

Surgical procedures for glaucoma work by increasing the outflow of fluid from the eye, thereby decreasing the eye pressure. 

Interesting Eye Fact:

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