Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye's optic nerve and worsens over time. Often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye, glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life.
The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can harm the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.
Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, it is important to see your eye doctor regularly, so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.
Those over 40 years of age and those with a family history of glaucoma, should have a complete eye exam with an eye doctor every one to two years. This may need to be more frequently, if you have health problems, such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma or are at risk for other eye diseases.