Glaucoma is an eye disease in which vision can be lost due to damage to the optic nerve, usually from elevated pressure in the eye.  The optic nerve is the structure that sends the message of light from the eye to the brain. 

The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown, however people over 40 with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics, and people who take steroids like prednisone are at a higher risk and should have a full eye exam every 1 to 2 years.

Glaucoma is usually painless and it is one of the causes of “tunnel vision”.   This means that unless diagnosed during an eye exam, a person with glaucoma will gradually lose vision from the periphery inward, and by the time this is first noticed, a significant amount of vision can be lost.  Unfortunately, vision loss in glaucoma is irreversible.

Other symptoms of glaucoma can include halos around lights, eye redness, eye pain, and nausea.  If you experience any of these symptoms you should see an eye doctor promptly.

Glaucoma is treated in several ways, the most common being prescription eye drops that lower eye pressure.  Other methods of treatment your eye doctor may recommend include laser or conventional eye surgery.

You can preserve your vision by getting regular checkups with your eye doctor.  Ask questions and know the symptoms of glaucoma.