Glaucoma is an eye disease that is at least familiar to most people. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for patients between the ages of 18-65 years of age. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people have Glaucoma, yet only half of those actually know that they have it. While most people are familiar with the eye disease Glaucoma, few are aware of why Glaucoma is such a significant threat to sight.
Many people believe that Glaucoma is simply the result of “a high pressure in the eye”. Although an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) can be one cause of Glaucoma, and in fact is the most common cause of Glaucoma, a high IOP is not the only cause of Glaucoma. Glaucoma is not a single disease but is a collective term that is used to characterize a broad range of eye problems that damage the optic nerve and cause loss of vision. Regardless of the cause, the various types of Glaucoma present a common threat-without early detection, diagnosis, treatment and control-Glaucoma will result in permanent vision loss and potentially blindness.
Whereas almost all serious eye diseases or eye conditions produce some symptoms that either make patients uncomfortable or disturb their vision, Glaucoma begins without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision. With Glaucoma, patients can experience a significant loss of peripheral vision (i.e. side vision) and not know it. In this way glaucoma is quite insidious and, if not diagnosed and treated early in its course, will lead to progressive and permanent vision loss. This is what makes Glaucoma such a dangerous eye disease (http://www.glaucoma.org/). For this reason alone it is important to have routine eye examinations with Glaucoma testing. With early detection and diagnosis, Glaucoma is treatable allowing most patients to preserve vision throughout their lives.