• Consumer Health: Understanding glaucoma

a medical illustration of normal eye anatomy and one with glaucoma

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about this group of eye conditions.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, often due to abnormally high pressure in your eye. Elevated eye pressure is due to a buildup of the fluid that flows throughout the inside of your eye. When this fluid is overproduced or the drainage system doesn't work properly, the fluid can't flow out at its normal rate and eye pressure increases.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over 60. It can occur at any age, but it is more common in older adults. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage. Many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs.

Because you can't recover vision loss due to glaucoma, it's important to have regular eye exams that measure your eye pressure. These exams can diagnose the condition in its early stages, when treatment can slow or prevent vision loss.

Learn more about the treatment options for glaucoma, including lifestyle tips that may help you control high eye pressure or promote eye health.

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