Save Your Sight - Glaucoma Screening
Glaucoma is the term applied to a group of eye diseases that gradually result
in loss of vision by permanently damaging the optic nerve, the nerve that
transmits visual images to the brain. The leading cause of irreversible
blindness, glaucoma often produces no symptoms until it is too late and vision
loss has begun.
Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections
- Glaucoma is a disease that is
often associated with
elevated intraocular pressure, in
which damage to the eye (optic) nerve can lead to loss of vision and even blindness.
- Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the
- Glaucoma usually causes no symptoms early in its
course, at which time it can only be diagnosed by regular eye examinations
(screenings with the frequency of examination based on age and the presence of other risk factors).
- Intraocular pressure
increases when either too much
fluid is produced in the eye or the drainage or outflow channels (trabecular
meshwork) of the eye become blocked.
- While anyone can get glaucoma, some people are at
- The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle
glaucoma, which has several variants and is a long duration (chronic)
condition, and angle-closure
glaucoma, which may be either a sudden (acute) condition
or a chronic disease.
- Damage to the optic nerve and
impairment of vision
from glaucoma are irreversible.
- Several painless tests that determine the intraocular
pressure, the status of the optic nerve and drainage angle, and visual fields
are used to diagnose the presence of glaucoma and monitor its progression.
- Glaucoma is usually treated with eyedrops, although
lasers and surgery can also be used. Most cases can be controlled well with
these treatments, thereby preventing further loss of vision.
- Much research into the causes and treatment of
glaucoma is being carried out throughout the world.
- Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preserving sight in people
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the major nerve of vision, called the optic nerve. The optic nerve receives light-generated nerve impulses from the retina and transmits these to the
brain, where we recognize those electrical signals as vision. Glaucoma is characterized by a particular pattern of progressive damage to the optic nerve that
generally begins with a subtle loss of side vision (peripheral vision). If glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can progress to loss of central vision and blindness.
Glaucoma is usually, but not always, associated with elevated pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). Generally, it is this elevated eye pressure that leads to
damage of the eye (optic) nerve. In some cases, glaucoma may occur in the presence of normal eye pressure. This form of glaucoma is believed to be caused by poor
regulation of blood flow to the optic nerve.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/23/2015