The eye can be compared to a camera. The eye lens is found behind the iris and the pupil. The lens focuses the light back toward the retina and the image is recorded there. Once the image is recorded, the image information is sent to the brain through the optic nerve. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain in the same way that a computer cable connects a digital camera to a computer to transfer images. If a person has glaucoma, the lens and retina operate normally; however, the optic nerve does not and images are not properly transferred to the brain.
It is estimated that almost 3 million people in the US, over the age of 40, are affected by glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness, accounting for around 10% of all cases of blindness in the US. Glaucoma is a progressive disease and is incurable. This condition can cause irreversible blindness. Early detection and treatment are the best defense against permanent vision loss due to glaucoma.
Glaucoma can happen slowly; sometimes people are not aware that they have it until a significant amount of vision loss. Everyone is at risk for glaucoma and there may be no warning symptoms. Early detection and watchful, lifelong treatment can preserve vision in most people affected by glaucoma.
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