Glaucoma is not just one eye disease, but a group of eye conditions resulting in damage to the optic nerve. This nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain, so damage results in loss of peripheral vision. Abnormally high pressure inside your eye usually, but not always, causes this damage. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness and is called the “silent thief of sight,” because it damages your vision so slowly you may not notice any loss of vision until the disease is very advanced. Once vision is lost it cannot be recovered, so treatment is aimed at preventing further loss.
The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, has no noticeable signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss. Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and limit glaucoma-related vision loss. A complete eye exam is needed in order to diagnose glaucoma, so it is important to have your eyes examined every 12 months.