What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that develops when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. The extra fluid increases pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve, the nerve that sends information about what you see to your brain. Since a healthy optic nerve is necessary for good vision, untreated glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma

It develops over time, when your eye does not drain fluid as well as it should (think of a clogged drain). As a result, your eye pressure increases and starts to damage the optic nerve. Because primary open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it has to be managed for life.

 Although there is no single cause for glaucoma, elevated eye pressure is a major risk factor for the condition.

The symptoms can be hard to notice

Normal Vision

Simulated IMAGE SHOWING loss of side vision with glaucoma

At first, primary open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms. There’s no pain and your vision stays normal. However, if left untreated, glaucoma will cause you to slowly lose your peripheral (side) vision. Imagine looking through a tunnel, where the objects on either side are getting lost. That’s what vision with glaucoma is like. If the condition remains untreated, vision loss will continue and that tunnel will get smaller and smaller. Once your vision is lost, you can’t get it back. That’s why early diagnosis—and continued management—are so important.

Anyone can develop glaucoma

Everyone is at risk for developing this condition. The best way to protect your vision from glaucoma is to get your eyes tested regularly.


Americans have glaucoma. Only half know they have it

People over the age of 60

are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma

African Americans

and people with a family history of glaucoma are also at a higher risk

Learn about an innovative surgical procedure that can help control your eye pressure over time.