Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve. This nerve connects the eyeball to the brain; it transmits visual signals that enable the brain to create images. In people with glaucoma, a buildup of fluid causes pressure in the eye to increase. As the damage progresses, a variety of symptoms develop.
There are several types of glaucoma. Both open-angle and chronic angle-closure glaucoma progress incredibly slowly. Because of this, it is possible for glaucoma to steadily worsen without developing any symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms that begin to appear are so minor that the individual experiencing them might not even notice. This is why regular eye exams are critically important, especially for people with a high risk of getting glaucoma, such as older adults or individuals with diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, and poor blood circulation.
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