Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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 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 glaucoma.
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 is the 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.
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 12/3/2013
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.