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Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the part of the eye that carries images to the brain. A healthy optic nerve is necessary for good vision. When the optic nerve fibers are damaged, blind spots develop. These blind spots often go undetected until the optic nerve is significantly damaged. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness will likely result. The damage occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises and is left unchecked.
Who Is at Risk?
The most significant risk factors for developing glaucoma include:
- Age - Anyone over the age of 40 can be considered to be at increased risk for developing glaucoma
- Elevated eye pressure
- Family history of glaucoma
The key to successfully treating glaucoma is to diagnose it in its earliest stages, before extensive damage has occurred. Because there are often no symptoms of the disease until the damage is very advanced, it is extremely important to have periodic eye check-ups, particularly if you are at high risk for developing glaucoma. The best way to detect glaucoma is through regular, comprehensive eye examinations by a doctor at Eye Care Associates. Our doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose the disease.