Basic Facts

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disorder characterized by damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending messages from your eye to your brain so you can see properly. Damage to the optic nerve can cause vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States. It usually affects people later in life. Roughly 2.25 million Americans aged 40 and older have glaucoma.

Glaucoma can’t be prevented, often has no symptoms, and the vision loss it causes can’t be reversed. However, if it is diagnosed early, ongoing treatment can preserve your vision. Because early diagnosis is so important, you should get regular eye exams that include a check for glaucoma. Glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated by ophthalmologists (medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating eye disorders and diseases), and in some states, optometrists (healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care). 


Last Updated August 2020