- Glaucoma is a complicated disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive and permanent loss of vision
- It is the second most common cause of blindness in the world and very common in South Africa
- It is caused by an increase in the pressure within the eye.
- This leads to damage to the optic nerve
- There is no specific level of elevated pressure that leads to damage but each individual has a pressure above which damage will occur.
- Risk factors include age, family history and Black-African heritage
- Early detection and treatment can slow or even halt the progression of the disease.
- Anyone with a family history should be screened by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) as a routine.
- If no family history is present, a good time to be checked is at the age of 40.