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Glaucoma – Topic Overview

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve, which carries information from theeye to the brain, is in the back of the eye. When the nerve is damaged, you can lose your vision.

At first, people with glaucoma lose side (peripheral) vision. But if the disease is not treated, vision loss may get worse. This can lead to total blindness over time.

There are three types of glaucoma.

  • Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form in the United States. In this type of glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged bit by bit. This slowly leads to loss of eyesight. One eye may be affected more than the other. Sometimes much of your eyesight may be lost before you notice it.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma is less common. About 10% of all glaucoma cases in the United States are closed-angle. In this type of glaucoma, the colored part of the eye (iris) and the lens block movement of fluid between the chambers of your eye. This causes pressure to build up and the iris to press on the drainage system of the eye. (See a picture of the iris and lens.) A related type is sudden (acute) closed-angle glaucoma. It is often an emergency. If you get this acute form, you will need medical care right away to prevent permanent damage to your eye.
  • Congenital glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma that some infants have at birth. Some children and young adults can also get a type of the disease.

source: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/tc/glaucoma-topic-overview