Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve in which the retinal ganglion cells are damaged, retinal nerve fiber layer get thinner, and your peripheral vision is affected. The vast majority of glaucoma patients will not experience severe vision loss, and the condition progresses very slowly. Lowering eye pressure by 20% with eye drops decreases the risk of glaucoma by 50%, especially in those at high risk. Risk factors include African and Asian descent, older age, family history (10x the risk), near-sightedness, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, blood disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
If your glaucoma rapidly progresses with treatment, you may need a referral to see a glaucoma specialist. Most cases can be managed with eye drops, which are safe, inexpensive, and effective in preventing and delaying glaucoma. It is important to stay on prescribed eye drops every day! Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), visual field testing, intraocular pressure measurements, and fundus photography are essential to monitor for glaucoma progression.