Glaucoma: Are You Protected?

A man with glasses is smilingGlaucoma occurs about five times more often in African-Americans, and blindness from glaucoma is about six times more common. In addition to this higher frequency, glaucoma often occurs earlier in life in African-Americans—on average, about 10 years earlier than in other ethnic populations.

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The disease is often a silent killer — it has no obvious symptoms early on. In fact, as many as half of all people with glaucoma do not know they have the condition. Regular eye exams are important for diagnosing and treating glaucoma — and early treatment is key to saving eyesight.

Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases that can harm the optic nerve, the part of the eye that transmits images to the brain. In most cases, glaucoma occurs when there is an increase in the normal fluid pressure inside the eye. That pressure can damage the optic nerve, causing vision loss and blindness.

Doctors don’t know what causes glaucoma, but they have noted certain risk factors: