Important Facts About Glaucoma
The following is information regarding primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma:
- Glaucoma is a serious eye disease. If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss and blindness.
- Glaucoma is the second most common cause of legal blindness in the U.S. It is the leading cause of blindness for African-Americans.
- Glaucoma is a chronic (ongoing) condition that requires lifelong monitoring and treatment. It is important for people with glaucoma to work with their Eye M.D.s to find a treatment plan that is right for them.
- About 2 million Americans have glaucoma — but only half of them are aware of it.
- In glaucoma, the fluid (different from tears) that normally flows through the front section of the eye cannot drain properly. This causes a buildup of pressure in the eye that can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.
- Your Eye M.D. can use a series of painless tests and exams to check you for glaucoma. Other tests may be done if your Eye M.D. suspects you may have glaucoma.
- Vision loss is usually preventable if glaucoma is detected early. There is no “cure” for glaucoma, but early detection and ongoing treatment can control the disease and usually preserve vision.
- Treatment for glaucoma can include medication and/or surgery. The best treatment for each person is determined by a number of factors, including type and severity of glaucoma, and the person’s medical history and lifestyle.
- Glaucoma usually has no symptoms until vision loss has occurred.
- Approximately 80,000 Americans are legally blind from glaucoma.
Many more have visual impairment.
- Seniors, African-Americans and those with a family history of glaucoma
are at higher risk for the disease and should have eye exams more often.
- Medications for glaucoma — even eye drops — can affect the whole body and may interact with other medications. It is very important for all your doctors to be aware of any medication you take.
Please refer to the following resources to learn more about glaucoma:
Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The Glaucoma Foundation
The International Glaucoma Association
The Glaucoma Research Foundation
Prevent Blindness America
National Eye Institute
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