Glaucoma is a group of disorders in which the main risk factor is high fluid pressure within the eye, which can cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve provides the pathway from the eyeball to the brain. If a doctor discovers glaucoma early and the patient follows directions carefully, the damaging effects of this disease can be addressed. When vision is lost from glaucoma, it is irreversible and cannot be restored.
Although glaucoma is far more common in older individuals, it can strike at any age and can even affect babies. It is a disease that is present worldwide and remains a leading cause of blindness.
In most instances, the cause of glaucoma is unknown. Although the genetic inheritance of glaucoma is still unclear, a family history of glaucoma increases one's risk for developing this condition. Patients who have a history of eye trauma or chronic steroid use are also at risk for developing glaucoma. Much active investigation is currently being carried out at Mass. Eye and Ear and other research centers to try to find the cause of visual loss in glaucoma.
If you have glaucoma, your doctor can keep the pressure within your eye to a normal level with careful treatment. It is important to have your eye doctor check your pressure regularly so that he or she can prescribe proper treatment. This way, you can help prevent further loss of vision. The glaucoma specialists of Mass. Eye and Ear work closely with their adult and pediatric patients to monitor and manage the course of their disease.