Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, most often because of high intra-ocular pressure. Intra-ocular pressure is the fluid pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma is known as “the silent thief of sight” because there are often no symptoms until the condition is so advanced that vision loss has already occurred. In the U.S. glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. When caught early, however, glaucoma can be controlled. Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection, especially for people who are over the age of 50, diabetic, African American, or have a family history of glaucoma.
There are two main types of glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma causes slow painless vision loss. Closed angle glaucoma causes rapid painful vision loss and must be treated immediately in order to prevent vision loss.