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Glaucoma

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Updated October 17, 2005

Definition: Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which increased intraocular pressure (pressure/amount of the liquid in the eye) causes damage to the optic nerve leading to blindness.

There are two types of Glaucoma. Primary Glaucoma occurs without warning and with no known cause. It is often accompanied by severe pain in the eye.

Secondary Glaucoma occurs from increased intraocular pressure as a result of some other eye disease.

Glaucoma can be detected during a routine eye exam that includes tonometry. A normal tonometer reading is 13 to 22 - if higher readings are detected referral should be made for further follow up. Another early sign of glaucoma is a complaint of lights appearing to have halos around them.

The aim of Glaucoma treatment is to reduce the pressure in the eye by either decreasing the production of the intraocular liquid (aqueous humor) or by increasing the amount of intraocular liquid that leaves the eye. Present treatments include the use of medications in the form of eyedrops or surgery. Treatments only slow the progression of this disease - vision lost is gone forever.

Pronunciation: glaw-ko'ma
Common Misspellings: glawcoma
Examples:
Dan has type 2 diabetes and is at higher risk of developing glaucoma if it not controlled by medications and diet.
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