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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that is caused by an elevated pressure within the eye. The elevated pressure is a consequence of an imbalance between the amounts of fluid produced by the eye versus the amount that is drained. This increased pressure results in damage to the fibers in the back of the eye that form the optic nerve.

Glaucoma can be divided into two main groups: Open-angle glaucoma and Closed-angle glaucoma. Aqueous humor, the fluid that fills the anterior chamber of the eye and provides nourishment, is constantly produced throughout the day. This fluid is in turn drained from the eye by a system of canals located within the anterior portion of the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is caused when these canals are open but are less efficient in draining the fluid. This leads to an increased pressure within all parts of the eye. Closed-angle glaucoma is caused when there is a structural change within the canals which result in physical blockage of the canal. This may lead to an abrupt increase in the eye pressure.

Untreated, glaucoma will lead to permanent damage and compromise of visual function. There is no cure for glaucoma, but if detected early in the process of the disease, specific therapies can arrest the progression of the disease. Glaucoma can be treated with medications, lasers, surgery, or a combination of these therapies.

People with glaucoma often do not know they are affected because the loss of vision occurs gradually over time. For this reason, people are often asymptomatic when they are in the early stages of glaucoma. The key for treatment of glaucoma is early detection. It is important to schedule regular eye examinations, so that you can be monitored for eye diseases such as glaucoma.