Glaucoma Diagnosis

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can lead to damage to the optic nerve, which is crucial for vision. The optic nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain. The most common type of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, but there are other types such as angle-closure glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma.

The main risk factor for glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), which occurs when the fluid inside the eye (aqueous humor) is not draining properly. Increased IOP can damage the optic nerve over time, leading to gradual and often painless vision loss. It's important to note that not everyone with elevated IOP develops glaucoma, and some individuals can develop the condition with normal IOP.

Glaucoma often progresses slowly, and peripheral vision is typically affected first. As the disease advances, it can lead to tunnel vision and, eventually, complete blindness if left untreated.

Regular eye exams are essential for the early detection of glaucoma, as symptoms may not be noticeable until significant damage has occurred. Treatment usually involves medications to lower intraocular pressure, laser therapy, or surgery in more severe cases.

Since glaucoma can be asymptomatic in its early stages, routine eye check-ups, especially for those at higher risk (such as individuals with a family history of glaucoma, older adults, and certain ethnic groups), are crucial for early detection and effective management. Early intervention can help preserve vision and slow the progression of the disease.

Howard Seth Meiselman, DO

Medically reviewed by Howard Seth Meiselman, DO — Written by Mark Conklin: Editorial Process