Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. After the age of 35, the risk for developing this disease increases dramatically.
It is more likely to develop in persons who are severely nearsighted, persons with a family history of the condition, people with diabetes, and African Americans. Due to the symptoms of early glaucoma being so slight, the disease often goes unnoticed until permanent vision loss has occurred. With early diagnosis and careful treatment, however, visual damage from glaucoma can be prevented.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve. This can cause blind spots in a person’a field of vision. Blindness will occur if the optic nerve is destroyed. Glaucoma is usually caused by an increase in the fluid pressure in the eye. This fluid normally leaves the eye through a drainage system and returns to the blood stream. When there is an overproduction of this fluid or when the drainage system becomes blocked, glaucoma occurs.