Glaucoma is actually a term that covers a group of diseases that lead to loss of vision, typically through subtle changes in your eye pressure over time. The pressure is changed by a buildup of fluids in the front part of your eye. Glaucoma occurs when the balance of fluids entering and leaving your eye is disrupted, and the flow of fluids out of the eye doesn’t happen the way it should.

The resulting high eye pressure damages your optic nerve, which can lead to irreversible vision loss or even total blindness. If it’s caught in time, medications can restore your eye pressure and halt the progression of the second-leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

It’s not unusual for there to be no concrete reason for your glaucoma. A popular theory is that the blood supply to eye is not at a normal level. Whatever the cause, the drain opening in your eye either closes or becomes clogged. Only secondary glaucoma has definite causes, such as a tumor or diabetes. Glaucoma has been found to run in families, so if someone in your family has already been diagnosed with glaucoma, be sure to inform your eye doctor so that your eye pressure can be tracked too. Everyone’s normal eye pressure is different, and it even varies from day to day and from hour to hour, depending on your activities and environment. Get your pressure checked regularly to establish an average eye pressure that’s normal for you.

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