Glaucoma is called the “silent thief” because damage is painless, gradual, and almost always presents zero symptoms. It can slowly steal your eyesight without your even realizing that anything is wrong. Glaucoma is one of the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the United States. A simple painless eye exam can detect the disease. With early detection and treatment, glaucoma can usually be controlled and blindness prevented.
Glaucoma can affect anyone from newborn infants to the elderly. It has been estimated that up to 3 million Americans have glaucoma. At least half of those people do not know they have it because glaucoma usually has no symptoms. People who are at a greater risk for glaucoma usually have the following conditions:
- At least 45 years old without regular eye exams
- A family history of glaucoma
- Abnormally high eye pressure
- African descent
- Previous eye injury
- Regular, long-term use of cortisone/steroid products