Called the “sneak thief” of sight, glaucoma has no symptoms, even while damage is being done. Glaucoma tends to run in families, so if you have a relative who had vision loss or used eye drops daily, be sure to have an eye exam to rule out glaucoma. Glaucoma is also more prevalent in African-Americans. Early detection is the key to protecting your vision from damage caused by glaucoma.
The most common type of glaucoma, Open Angle Glaucoma (OAG), occurs when there is either a sustained increase in fluid production or a decrease in fluid drainage. With this imbalance in fluid flow, there is an increase in the intraocular pressure, which in turn reduces the blood flow in the sensitive tissues of the optic nerve. Over time, as the optic nerve fibers are destroyed, peripheral (side) vision is lost.
There is no cure for glaucoma - yet. However, medication and/or surgery (both incisional and laser) can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma and other factors. Early detection is vital to preserving vision.