Glaucoma can affect patients of all
ages and is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the United States. Glaucoma is
a family of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Glaucoma causes damage to the
optic nerve, which is responsible for relaying visual information from the retina to the brain.
Over 4 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those affected are aware of it since there
may be no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Early detection and treatment are imperative
in maintaining overall eye health and vision.
Initially, Glaucoma usually causes damage to the peripheral vision; only later in the disease is
the central vision affected. There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle and angle-closure.
Both types involve abnormalities with the drainage angle that helps aqueous fluid flow from the
eye. If aqueous fluid is not drained properly, the eye pressure can be increased. If eye pressure
is elevated for an extended period of time, permanent damage and progressive vision loss can occur.
A simple, painless eye exam can detect the disease. With early detection and treatment, glaucoma
can usually be controlled and blindness prevented.
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