InSite Vision, Inc.
Glaucoma

Glaucoma

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 2 to 3 million people, and is the single most common cause of blindness among African-Americans.

Glaucoma can begin in anyone without any obvious symptoms. Therefore, it is possible for someone to have glaucoma, but be unaware of the disease until a serious loss of vision is noticed. Unfortunately, once there is damage from glaucoma, it usually cannot be reversed.

Glaucoma is a result of the buildup of pressure in the eye when the aqueous humor, which normally flows in and out of the eye, is prevented from draining properly. This increase in pressure within the eye can damage the optic nerve. Although high intraocular pressure (IOP) was once considered to be the main cause of optic nerve damage in glaucoma, ophthalmologists have learned that even people with normal IOP can experience vision loss from a form of the disease called normal tension glaucoma.

Of the different types of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is by far the most common form of the disease, striking mostly those over 40 years of age. Glaucoma can affect any person, but there are a number of risk factors that increase the chances of developing the disease:

  • Your family has a history of glaucoma
  • You have a higher than normal intraocular pressure (pressure inside your eye)
  • You have diabetes
  • You are over 40 and have not had regular eye exams by an eye care specialist
  • You are of African descent
  • You are myopic (nearsighted)
  • Your eyes were injured in the past
  • You have had regular, long-term steroid/cortisone use

Resources

  • The Glaucoma Foundation - The Glaucoma Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to leading the fight against glaucoma and to identifying new treatments and cures.
  • Glaucoma Research Foundation - The Glaucoma Research Foundation's (GRF) mission is to preserve the sight and independence of individuals with glaucoma through research and education with the ultimate goal of finding a cure.

"About one person in 50 over the age of 40 will have some form of glaucoma; the frequency rises with age."

—International Glaucoma Association