Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. The condition, which is most often caused by increased pressure in the eye, gets worse over time and can lead to permanent blindness if untreated.
There are no early warning signs. Glaucoma usually develops gradually and painlessly, and can destroy your optic nerve and vision without your knowledge. Therefore finding and treating glaucoma early on is very important. The way to diagnose glaucoma is to have a thorough eye exam.
It tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life.
Glaucoma is ranked third in the leading causes of blindness in the U. S. and the second in the world. Over 3 million Americans have glaucoma and onlyhalf know they have it. About 5% of the population develops glaucoma, which occurs most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40 and is hereditary in some families.
Anyone can get glaucoma but those at higher risk to develop glaucoma are:
- People over sixty years of age.
- People of African descent.
- Relatives of people with glaucoma.
- Very near-sighted individuals.
- Those with history of extensive steroid medication use.
There is a form of congenital glaucoma that causes high eye pressures in babies and requires immediate surgical treatment. Fortunately, this is rare. Juvenile glaucoma does occur in children and teenagers but it is also uncommon.