Joan Gewirtz, MD - Ophthalmologist

Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. It is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. Therefore it is very important that it be diagnosed. Anyone can develop glaucoma. Some people are at higher risk than others.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam can reveal more risk factors, such as high eye pressure, thinness of the cornea, and abnormal optic nerve anatomy. In some people with certain combinations of these high-risk factors, medicines in the form of eye drops reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by about half.
People at higher risk include:
  • African Americans over age 40.
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans.
  • People with a family history of glaucoma, as well as people living with the disease.
Key Messages:
  • Glaucoma has no warning signs.
  • Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness.
  • People at higher risk for glaucoma should receive a comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years.
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