Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. There are no warning signs or obvious symptoms in the early stages of this disease. As glaucoma progresses, blind spots develop in your peripheral (side) vision.
Most people with open-angle glaucoma do not notice any change in their vision until the damage is quite severe. This is why glaucoma is called the “silent thief of sight.” Having regular eye exams can help your eye doctor detect this disease before you lose vision. The only sure way to diagnose glaucoma is with a complete eye exam.
Some people have a higher than normal risk of getting glaucoma. This includes people who:
· are over age 40
· have family members with glaucoma
· are of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
· have high eye pressure
· are farsighted or nearsighted
· have had an eye injury
· use long-term steroid medications
· have corneas that are thin in the center
· have thinning of the optic nerve
· have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body.
Talk with your eye doctor about your risk for getting glaucoma. People with more than one of these risk factors have an even higher risk of glaucoma.