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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Eye Care Eye Care Arrow to Glaucoma Glaucoma

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The human eye is continually bathed in liquid that builds up and then is filtered through drainage canals.

When something goes wrong with these internal 'pipes', pressure can build up within the eye and can eventually damage the optic nerve.

This condition is known as glaucoma. As people age, glaucoma develops silently and painlessly. At first, it may effect peripheral vision and present mild symptoms including headaches, occasional blurred vision or a dull pain in the eyes.

comparison of normal sighted vs glaucoma vision
At left, a street lamp at dusk as seen
by a normal-sighted person. At right,
the same view as seen by someone
with advanced glaucoma.

As the condition advances, more serious symptoms occur such as "halo" effects when a patient looks at bright lights.

No one knows the exact cause of glaucoma, but there does appear to be a genetic component along with a connection to ethnicity, as African-Americans are 4 to 5 times likely to develop the disease.

It also appears more prevelant in people who are either extremely far-sighted or near-sighted.

If left untreated, even the more common form of open angle glaucoma can lead to total blindness. The more serious and rarer form of closed angle glaucoma arises more suddenly and can lead to total blindness within a few days, constituting a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.

Treatment options traditionally include glaucoma drugs and medications used to reduce fluid formation in the eye and thus relieve pressure. Laser surgery for glaucoma is another more modern innovation that has also proven to be safe and effective, as well.

Around the Web, find out more about the condition and related treatments, more on glaucoma symptoms as well as complementary & nutritional therapies helping patients alleviate risks associated with glaucoma ...

also see in Eye Care -> Cataracts | Macular Degeneration

More about glaucoma around the Web:

Learn About Glaucoma | Glaucoma Research Foundation - Browse for all you need to know about the condition including risk factors, symptoms and more on the different types of glaucoma, diagnostic testing & treatment options, related glossary, and statistics.

Glaucoma Foundation - About Glaucoma - Facts & information on risks, diagnosis and treatment, free newsletter, FAQ, related resources.

View how glaucoma may affect your vision - Dramatic, interactive illustration showing what the world may look like as the disease progresses.


This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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