About glaucoma

“Glaucoma is a progressive disease. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.”


Jonas JB, Aung T, Bourne RR et al. “Glaucoma”. Lancet 2017; 390: 2083–93

Vision with Glaucoma


This is how glaucoma vision looks like compared to normal vision.

Normal vision

Vision with Glaucoma

Glaucoma causes

Normal flow


Aqueous humor circulates continuously in the healthy eye. It is produced by the ciliary body, and flows from the back to the front of the eye, where it exits the eye.


Flow in eye and aqueous humor

Glaucoma eye with pressure increase

Flow in Glaucoma


In the glaucoma eye, outflow of aqueous humor is disturbed, leading to fluid build up in the eye. When fluid builds up, intraocular pressure (IOP), the pressure within the eye, increases and damages the optic nerve, causing blurred or reduced vision at first, and eventually permanent loss of vision.





Diagnosing Glaucoma

Glaucoma can be diagnosed through several tests, including:

  • Tonometry – eye pressure test
  • Optic nerve health assessment
  • Perimetry – assessment of complete field of vision
  • Gonioscopy – examines the angle where the iris meets the cornea

Risk factors for Glaucoma


Risk factors for primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, include:

  • Age – more prevalent in those over 60 years
  • Family history – it is hereditary
  • Ethnicity – especially African, Hispanic and Asian origins

Glaucoma is a progressive disease that currently has no cure. However, glaucoma can be treated by lowering eye pressure to prevent further damage to the optic nerve. Target eye pressure varies from patient to patient. Eye pressure reduction, through medication (eye drops) or surgery, helps delay disease progression.

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