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What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a debilitating disease of the eye, which causes severe damage to the optic nerve. Over time, if left untreated, it can cause permanent and irreversible blindness. In fact, glaucoma is a major leading cause of blindness among adults today, falling second just behind cataracts. Age can play a major factor in the progression of glaucoma as well, considering it is more commonly seen among those aged 60, and older. Many times, a person may have glaucoma without even knowing it, because symptoms do not typically begin to arise until well after it has had some time to mature and develop. This is one of the reasons that physicians, strongly urges people to see their eye care physician on a regular basis as they age.


As mentioned above, symptoms of glaucoma typically do not start to show up until after the disease has had some time to progress and evolve. That said, there are some notable signs that should be taken into account, and reported to your eye care physician as soon as possible should you begin to experience any of them. A few of the more common notable signs include the following:

    • double vision
    • light sensitivity
    • change of iris color
    • visible “dark spots” in sight
    • difficulty adjusting to dark rooms
    • red, swollen or crust laden eyelids
    • pains in and around the eyes
    • excessive tear production or watery eyes
    • blurred vision or difficulty focusing on objects

Although it is very rare, please keep in mind that there are other, more serious indications of glaucoma, as well. And in cases such as this, they should always be considered of emergency status, prompting for an immediate examination. Do not hesitate to go to the nearest emergency room if any of these situations occur:

    • sudden onset of blurred vision
    • sudden vision loss in one or both eyes
    • flashes of light or black spotting in sight
    • light or bright objects omitting a “rainbow” type halo appearance around them.

Glaucoma can prove to be a very challenging disease to diagnose at times, which is why it requires a complete and thorough set of evaluation tests prior to a definitive diagnosis. You also want to see a doctor that has years of experience. Protecting your sight is top priority. The results of your tests will help your eye care physician to better determine, and create a custom treatment plan for your specific and unique eye care needs. Not every condition is the same, therefore not every treatment plan will be the same, either. At any point should you discover that you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, it is important to make sure that you discuss with your eye care physician what subtle eyesight changes you should be watching out for. You need to understand any of the potential risks involved, know how to best care for the condition, identify the signs that mean you should contact a doctor immediately, and take the time to explore the treatment options and procedures that are available with an experienced physician.

For more information about Glaucoma, visit the American academy of Ophthalmology.