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Glaucoma is a very misunderstood disease. Often, people don't realize the severity or who is affected.
Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated. And unfortunately approximately 10% of people with glaucoma who receive proper treatment still experience loss of vision.
Glaucoma is not curable, and vision lost cannot be regained. With medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss of vision. Since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it must be monitored for life. Diagnosis is the first step to preserving your vision.
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma from babies to senior citizens. Older people are at a higher risk for glaucoma but babies can be born with glaucoma (approximately 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States). Young adults can get glaucoma, too. African Americans in particular are susceptible at a younger age.
With open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, there are virtually no symptoms. Usually, no pain is associated with increased eye pressure. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision. You may compensate for this unconsciously by turning your head to the side, and may not notice anything until significant vision is lost. The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get tested. If you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.
Sources are listed at the bottom of this page.
A survey done for Glaucoma Research Foundation found that:
A 2002 Prevent Blindness America Survey found that:
Sources: (1) The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group, Arch Ophthalmol. 2004; Prevent Blindness America; (2) National Institutes of Health; Quigley and Vitale, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1997; (3) Javitt et al, Undertreatment of Glaucoma Among Black Americans. N Eng J Med 1991; (4) The Salisbury Eye Evaluation Study, Arch Ophthalmol 2000; (5) Racial differences in the cause-specific prevalence of blindness in east Baltimore. N Engl J Med. 1991; (6) Quigley and Broman "Number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020", 2006; (7) Center for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics, 2010 & 1995; (8) NEI, Report of the Glaucoma Panel, Fall 1998
Last reviewed on May 05, 2015