Can you help me understand glaucoma? My sister’s being treated for it and said I should be checked too.

Glaucoma, what an interesting and complex topic! It’s a disease process in which the optic nerve is damaged from simply having too much fluid pressure within the eye. It’s critically important for the fluid pressure to remain in a safe range, and in order for this to maintain, the tissue (ciliary body) producing the fluid must not out-pace the tissue (trabecular meshwork) that drains this fluid from the eye. If fluid is being produced faster than it can drain, pressure increases = BAD! This increased pressure leads to permanent vision loss, beginning with our peripheral vision and eventually effecting our central vision. Glaucoma is usually painless and slowly progressive, often occurring without a person even knowing. There are several types of glaucoma, each describing unique causative characteristics, which help the eye doctor tailor a treatment plan. Risk factors include ethnicity, age, past injuries, nearsightedness, steroid use, and relation to someone with glaucoma (usually a first degree relative, i.e. sibling or parent). I hope that helped, and to answer your second question: yes, because of your sister’s diagnosis, you should be checked. Has this article left you wondering or concerned? Call your eye doctor today to schedule your glaucoma evaluation. If you don’t have an eye doctor, call us at Eye Care Professional Center, where you’ll feel the difference!!