Glaucoma is a condition in which elevated pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve, causing peripheral and total blindness. It is widely noted as the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
Symptoms: There may be no early warning signs, so optometric exams are crucial. Otherwise, pain, blurred vision and the appearance of colored rings around lights are leading indicators.
Treatment: Once diagnosed, treatments are highly effective. Prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment or even surgery may be involved. If untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness, and there are no cures.
Prevention: Because there may be few symptoms, and vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored (the condition can only be halted), frequent monitoring for glaucoma is essential. The risk for glaucoma increases dramatically after age 35 and is often hereditary.