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Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that is usually characterized by abnormally high eye pressure that eventually leads to optic nerve damage. The optic nerve carries visual information from your eye to your brain for processing.

The eye has a “drainage system” that allows fluid to flow in and out of the eye. If this drainage system is blocked, the fluid builds up and eye pressure increases. Glaucoma is painless and usually has no warning signs. In some acute forms of glaucoma, patients may experience:

  • Severe headaches
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Haloes around lights
  • Patchy blind spots
  • Tunnel vision

Glaucoma can run in families and mainly affects people age 40 and above. Using steroids for a certain period of time and having serious eye injuries can also lead to the development of this condition. Treatments, such as eyedrops, oral medications and medications, may be recommended to lower or maintain eye pressure, and preserve the remaining vision.

Since blindness caused by glaucoma can’t be reversed, early detection is key to preventing blindness. An annual comprehensive eye exam can help detect it early and slow or prevent blindness.