Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve. This nerve carries information from your eye to your brain, allowing you to see. If glaucoma damages your optic nerve, it can lead to vision loss and even blindness.
Glaucoma is often caused by increased pressure in your eye. This extra pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage your optic nerve over time.
There are different types of glaucoma, and they tend to fall into two broad categories: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma, the more common type, develops slowly and painlessly. Angle-closure glaucoma comes on suddenly and is often accompanied by severe pain.
Glaucoma can occur in anyone, but some people are at greater risk than others. Factors that may increase your risk of glaucoma include:
- Age - Glaucoma is more common in older adults.
- Family history - If you have a parent or sibling with glaucoma, you're more likely to develop the condition.
- Race - African Americans and Hispanics are at greater risk of glaucoma than whites.
- Medical conditions - Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can increase your risk of glaucoma.
- Previous eye injury or surgery - Eye injuries or certain types of eye surgery may increase your risk of glaucoma.
- Use of certain medications. Long-term use of corticosteroid medications such as prednisone can increase your risk of glaucoma.
There are a number of ways to treat glaucoma and prevent further vision loss. Treatment options include medicated eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, and conventional surgery.