Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Glaucoma damages nerve fibers, which can cause blind spots in our vision and vision loss to develop. Glaucoma has to do with the pressure inside the eye, or intraocular pressure (IOP). When the clear liquid called the aqueous humor–which normally flows in and out of the eye–cannot drain properly, pressure builds up in the eye. The resulting increase in IOP can damage the optic nerve.
Most people who develop glaucoma notice no symptoms until their vision is impaired.
Your ophthalmologist may tell you that you are at risk for glaucoma if you have one or more risk factors, including elevated IOP, a family history of glaucoma, a particular ethnic background, advanced age, or certain optic nerve conditions. Regular examinations with your ophthalmologist are important if you are at risk for this condition.