is a disease in which increased pressure in the eyeball damages the
optic nerve, leading to vision loss. The cause is not known but
glaucoma does run in families, and is more common in
African-Americans than whites.
of glaucoma can include loss of peripheral vision or blind spots in
the visual field. Often, these changes can only be detected by an
optometrist or ophthalmologist.
least 2% of the population over the age of 40 has chronic simple
glaucoma, which causes no pain but can eventually lead to a
significant loss of vision.
angle closure glaucoma, there are sudden attacks of increased eye
pressure that may be painful, cause nausea and vomiting, or cause
visual symptoms such as colored halos around lights. Each attack
reduces the personís vision.
diabetes or cardiovascular disease can increase a personís risk
for glaucoma. Certain eye diseases or injuries, or taking certain
medications that increase eye pressure, can also make the disease
more likely. Even myopia (being nearsighted) increases the risk, so
itís important to have your eyes examined every year or so.
cases of chronic glaucoma are treated with regular use of special
eye drops that decrease fluid production and pressure in the eye.
Some of the drops used are
angle closure glaucoma, more rapid action is needed. The patient may
use eyedrops or take a prescription medication such as acetazolamide
when an attack occurs.
is an option for some people with glaucoma. In a procedure known as
an iridotomy, a surgeon creates a tiny hole in the iris to prevent
the buildup of pressure in the eyeball. Sometimes, part of the iris
must be removed. Lasers are being used more and more often in this
type of surgery.