Glaucoma

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    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.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    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.

Learn about glaucoma tests and types, and find out if you're at risk.

Glaucoma Test

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.


Picture of glaucoma

Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections

Common Eye Problems and Infections

Glaucoma facts

  • Glaucoma is an eye 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 world.
  • 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 develop glaucoma, some people are at greater risk.
  • 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 with glaucoma.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/20/2016

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