Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve becomes damaged. The optic nerve carries the light signal from the back of the eye to the brain. When the optic nerve becomes damaged the peripheral or side vision is affected first.
A healthy eye must have pressure in it to maintain its shape. An increase in pressure inside the eye happens when the channel that normally allows fluid to drain away becomes clogged and blocked. If the fluid drains away too quickly then the eye pressure will be low. When this pressure gets too high the optic nerve and vessels can be irreversibly damaged.
Initially this can cause blind spots in your peripheral vision and some people often don't notice this until considerable damage is caused. For some people there is a sudden and large increase of pressure inside the eye causing symptoms such as blurred vision, pain, coloured rings around lights, and even nausea. If this happens it is important to see immediate attention to avoid permanent loss of vision.
Glaucoma can be prevented with regular eye examinations, especially important if you have a family history of glaucoma. Visual field testing can check for changes in your side or peripheral vision as well a Tonometry (pressure testing).
The risk factors for developing glaucoma included, family history, myopia, diabetes, thyroid disease, migraine, eye trauma and arteriosclerosis.
Treatment of glaucoma may include eye drop medication to lower the pressure, and in worst cases surgery may be advised.