Glaucoma is a group of diseases in which the pressure in the eye is higher than that particular eye can tolerate. A higher than normal pressure causes damage to the very sensitive optic nerve at the retina. Loss of sight may occur gradually or in rare cases, suddenly if glaucoma is not controlled.
In a rare form of glaucoma, acute glaucoma, there is severe pain, headache and nausea. In the more common chronic form, symptoms are rare and loss of sight occurs so gradually that the patient is not aware of any changes.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 40. Half the people who have glaucoma don't know it because it usually destroys eyesight without any symptoms of pain. Glaucoma occurs when the body produces too much fluid (aqueous humor) inside the eye or when normal drainage of the fluid does not filter out of the eye adequately.
Early diagnosis and treatment is imperative. If glaucoma is discovered early, treatment usually keeps it from getting worse. Eye Care Associates has acquired a GDX nerve fiber analyzer which allows our doctors to identify glaucoma much earlier than ever before. Regular eye exams are necessary to measure intra-ocular eye pressure, to evaluate the integrity of the optic nerve and to study a patient's peripheral field of vision. It is advised that persons having a family history of glaucoma or other factors indicating predisposition to this disease should be especially cautious. To learn more about the different types of glaucoma, please visit WebMD.