What Is Glaucoma?

Updated: May 1, 2019

Many people get glaucoma and cataracts confused (see our last post on cataracts). A cataract is not an eye disease, whereas glaucoma is. Glaucoma affects the optic nerve inside the eye and is one of the leading causes of blindness in people over age 60.

What causes it?

The eye normally produces a fluid called the aqueous humor. This fluid is drained out of the eye at the same rate as its production in order to maintain normal eye or intraocular pressure. In glaucoma, this drainage system does not function properly and causes a buildup of fluid and increased pressure. Eye pressure that is too high damages the optic nerve, which is what sends light signals from your eye to your brain and allows you to see.

What are the symptoms?

Glaucoma tends to be a very slow progressing disease. In most cases there are no symptoms in the early stages. In later stages, peripheral vision is decreased and blindness can occur.