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Glaucoma is a variety of conditions where the pressure in your eye is too high for the health of your eye. Eye pressure is controlled by a plumbing system inside your eye. The faucet is the ciliary body, a muscle that makes aqueous fluid. The drain is the trabecular meshwork, a sieve where the aqueous fluid leaves your eye and is absorbed by your body. The aqueous fluid is different than the tears that fall down your face. The balance between how much fluid is made by the faucet and how much fluid leaves your eye through the drain gives you an eye pressure. If the plumbing is not working properly, too much aqueous fluid builds up inside the eye and causes elevated eye pressure. This elevated eye pressure can damage the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain. Damage to the optic nerve leads to permanent loss of your peripheral or side vision. In advanced cases, glaucoma may cause loss of your central vision.

Glaucoma is the “silent thief of vision” because it has no symptoms. It may be surprising to hear that even patients with advanced glaucoma do not have symptoms. That means an eye exam is the ONLY way to be diagnosed with glaucoma or as a glaucoma suspect. You can take steps for early detection of glaucoma by having dilated eye exams every one to two years. These exams will screen for glaucoma. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and treated, the better the likelihood of preserving vision.