Glaucoma is a disease which primarily affects the optic nerve, which functions like a cable as it connects the eye to the brain. As glaucoma progresses, the optic nerve starts to die. Glaucoma rarely causes pain or discomfort. People who have glaucoma generally do not feel pain or that they are going blind until the late stages when the visual fields are constricted and they are left with tunnel vision.
Glaucoma patients are generally characterized as having high pressure inside the eye; however, in our Valley population normal intra-ocular pressure glaucoma is much more common than the high tension variety. Glaucoma cannot be cured; however, glaucoma can be treated by lowering the pressure inside the eye with eye drops. Whether a patient has high intra-ocular pressure glaucoma or normal intra-ocular pressure glaucoma, the treatment is the same. Lowering the pressure inside the eye helps to preserve the health of the optic nerveand maintain a life with sight.
Glaucoma is a disease that ultimately leads to blindness and is present in up to 2% of the US population. African Americans are three times more likely to develop glaucoma than whites. After the age of 60, Latinos develop glaucoma at the same rate as African Americans.
It is widely recognized that glaucoma is hereditary. If one or both of your parents have glaucoma or if one of your siblings has glaucoma, then you are likely to be a glaucoma suspect. Diabetes can also increase your risk of developing glaucoma. To find out if you have glaucoma or if you feel that you are it risk of developing glaucoma, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.