What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve. Optic nerve damage is caused by increased pressure from fluid that builds up inside the eye. The amount of pressure that can cause damage varies from person to person. Glaucoma affects peripheral (or side) vision, narrowing the field of vision. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause total vision loss. Glaucoma can affect one or both eyes. The most common form is primary open-angle glaucoma.
Why is it important to raise awareness about glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. People often are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages. The prevalence data is staggering, and its numbers are on the rise.
If detected early, before noticeable vision loss occurs, glaucoma can usually be controlled. Vision lost from glaucoma cannot be restored.
Anyone can get glaucoma, but those at higher risk include:
- African Americans age 40 and over
- Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
- People with a family history of the disease
Early detection through a comprehensive dilated eye exam and treatment with medication or surgery can help reduce severe vision loss from glaucoma.
Where to find more information about glaucoma
Detection of glaucoma and adult vision screening Read NEI’s statement on the best ways to detect glaucoma in adults.
Focus group findings on glaucoma Learn what people at risk for glaucoma know and perceive about this disease.
Image library Use photos and graphics from our collection of images to enhance your outreach activities.
Publications catalog Find eye health resources from A to Z.
Glaucoma education partners
At the national level, NEHEP works closely with many glaucoma education partners, including:
See the entire list of NEHEP partners and learn about the NEHEP Partnership. NEHEP also collaborates with state and community-based organizations to provide glaucoma information. Contact us if your organization is interested in working with NEHEP.