Glaucoma is a chronic disease triggered by increased ocular pressure and progressive optic nerve damage that can lead to severe vision impairment. Glaucoma is a dangerous disease due to the absence of warning signs and symptoms. For this reason it has earned the nickname “The Silent Thief of Sight”: The first visual disturbances related to glaucoma typically appear after about 30% of the optic nerve fibers have been damaged. Only at this point does the patient recognize visual disturbances such as peripheral vision loss or the inability to read.
Ocular pressure–performed routinely during the ophthalmology examination–is the most important test for diagnosing glaucoma. The higher the pressure, the greater the risk of glaucoma.
Glaucoma therapy strives to reduce intraocular pressure, primarily through the administration of beta-blockers or prostaglandin-based eye drops. Once pharmacologic therapy is no longer sufficient, laser or surgical intervention is performed.