What Is Glaucoma?
One of the most common causes for irreversible visual loss is glaucoma. Glaucoma is damage to the nerve fiber layer of the retina that is typically caused by an elevation in the intraocular pressure. It can go undetected until extreme visual loss has taken place. People at risk for glaucoma include those with a family history of glaucoma, diabetics, individuals of African-American decent, and those of increasing age. In general, most glaucomas are painless and asymptomatic. The visual loss that initially occurs is in the periphery of the visual field, so that most people do not even notice the visual loss. As glaucoma progresses, and if left untreated, it can affect the central vision in an irreversible fashion. Glaucoma is diagnosed on a routine screening eye examination.
Treatment for Glaucoma
The initial treatment for glaucoma is the use of eye drops in order to reduce the intraocular pressure. If eye drops fail, then laser or even surgical repair is necessary. That is why it is crucial for an individual to undergo an annual eye examination, especially if there is a risk factor for such a blinding disease.