What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases in which the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises, leading to vision loss or even blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease.
What causes it?
Clear fluid flows in and out of small space at the front of the eye called the anterior chamber. This fluid bathes and nourishes nearby tissues. If this fluid drains too slowly, pressure builds up and damages the optic nerve. Though this buildup may lead to an increase in eye pressure, the effect of pressure on the optic nerve differs from person to person. Some people may get optic nerve damage at low pressure levels while others tolerate higher pressure levels.
Who is most likely to get it?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Although anyone can get glaucoma, the following people are at higher risk:
- African Americans over age 40
- Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
- People with a family history of glaucoma.