Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders characterized by progressive loss of nerve tissue, often leading to blindness. It is the second leading cause of vision loss in the world, and affects an estimated 68 million people globally, with over 5 million in the United States and 12 million in Europe. As is the case with most eye diseases, the elderly are most affected by Glaucoma with incidence of the disease growing as age advances.
Glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure within the eye as a result of blockage of the flow of the intraocular fluid (also known as aqueous humor). Blockage of the aqueous humor flow causes increased pressure that if unrelieved causes vision impairment.
The disease is often called “the silent thief of sight” because most patients experience no symptoms at all; sometimes they do not know they have the disease until irreversible damage has occurred.