Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the United States. Greater than two million people in this country have been diagnosed with glaucoma and many more are unaware they have the disease. When glaucoma is treated in its early stages the prognosis is much better.
Glaucoma can be thought of as a group of diseases in which the pressure is too high for the eye (optic nerve). This scenario can be thought of as a problem with the drainage system, in which the faucet is producing the correct amount of fluid but the passage way to the drain may be blocked or clogged. The optic nerve can then be viewed as “electrical wires” carrying visual signals from the eye to the brain for processing. Once these “wires” are damaged they cannot recover and result in irreversible loss, i.e. dimming of peripheral and eventually vision. Central vision loss does not occur until glaucoma is at an advanced stage. Any suspicion of glaucoma may be detected with a comprehensive eye exam and other tests.