Glaucoma is a type of progressive eye damage in which optic nerve cells are damaged by excess fluid pressure in the eyeball. It is one of the leading cause of blindness in Canada. Typically, glaucoma occurs gradually, and may not be noticed until it has progressed quite far. Vision loss from glaucoma cannot be reversed, so routine eye exams to prevent it are important.
Glaucoma often runs in families. There are several types of the disease and each is caused by a different disease process that tends to affect different racial groups. Overall, people of African origin are more likely than Caucasians to get glaucoma.
Other risk factors for developing glaucoma include being over 40 years old, having high intraocular pressure (IOP; pressure inside the eye), myopia (nearsightedness), diabetes, high blood pressure, and a history of an eye injury.