Glaucoma is a progressive condition which damages the optic nerve, causing peripheral and then total blindness. It is widely noted as the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

Symptoms: There may be no early warning signs, so optometric exams are crucial. Otherwise, pain, blurred vision and the appearance of coloured rings around lights are leading indicators.

Treatment: Once diagnosed, glaucoma treatments are highly effective. The earlier Glaucoma is detected, the more effective treatment is. Prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment or even surgery may be involved. If untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness, and there are no cures.

Prevention: Because there may be few symptoms, and because vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored (the condition can only be slowed), frequent monitoring for glaucoma is essential. The risk for glaucoma increases dramatically after age 35 and is often hereditary. By the time that a person experiences loss of vision from Glaucoma, the disease is quite advanced. Treatment is more difficult in the advanced stages of Glaucoma.

All content is provided for education and information, and is no substitute for the advice of your optometrist. This information is provided courtesy of the British Columbia Association of Optometrists (B.C.A.O.). The B.C.A.O. assumes no responsibility or liability arising from any errors or omissions or from the use of any information contained herein.