Glaucoma: The “Silent Thief of Sight”

What is Glaucoma

Glaucoma week is officially taking place from March 8-14. 2020

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerves and eventually causes vision loss if left undetected and untreated. Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye. It is estimated that 6-67 million people have glaucoma globally of which an estimated 2 million people are affected in the United States.

People most at risk of glaucoma are those with a family history of the condition and high blood pressure.

The most common type is open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is where the drainage angle for fluid within the eye remains open. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly over time and no pain is present, which makes it particularly dangerous. This is because as you may find out that you have glaucoma when it is too late and irreparable damage occurs. This is why glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of sight”.  Once vision loss has occurred from glaucoma, it is permanent.

When open-angle glaucoma first begins, peripheral vision may begin to decrease, followed by your central vision and ultimately lead to blindness.

However, the sudden onset of glaucoma may also occur, which presents itself as severe eye pain, blurred vision, mid-dilated pupil, redness of the eye, and nausea.

People may have high eye pressure in the eyes for many years without knowing. At the same time, optic nerve damage stemming from glaucoma can occur with normal pressure. This is known as normal-tension glaucoma.


Glaucoma may be slowed or stopped with medication, laser treatment, or surgery. The primary objective of these treatments is to decrease the eye pressure caused by glaucoma. Laser treatments may be effective in both open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma.

Whatever the case, the only way to determine if one has glaucoma is through regular eye exams.

For more information about glaucoma, click here.

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