Glaucoma is a slowly progressing disease that causes damage to the eye's optic nerve and can result in blindness. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, affects about three million Americans. It is the leading cause of blindness for African-Americans. Because there are usually no symptoms at first, half of the people with this disease don't know they have it. With early treatment, serious vision loss and blindness can usually be prevented.

Signs and Symptoms

While symptoms do not initially occur, as the disease progresses, you can lose peripheral (side) vision and then forward vision. Some signs can only be found during an eye exam, such as increased pressure inside the eye and optic nerve abnormalities.

What Causes It?

A clear fluid flows in and out of the space at the front of the eye, nourishing nearby tissues. Glaucoma causes the fluid to pass through too slowly or to stop draining altogether. As the fluid builds up, the pressure inside the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.

Who's Most At Risk?

People with the following conditions or characteristics are at risk for glaucoma.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

It is important to have your eyes examined on a regular basis to check for glaucoma. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should see your eye care provider immediately.

To detect glaucoma, your eye care professional will perform the following tests.

Treatment Options


While glaucoma is not preventable, early detection and treatment are the best defenses against serious visual damage. At-risk patients should avoid medicines that increase eye pressure.

Treatment Plan

The primary goal of treatment is to minimize loss of vision by reducing pressure in the eye.

Drug Therapies

Eye drops and pills are the most common early treatment for glaucoma. Some cause the eye to produce less fluid, while others lower pressure by helping fluid drain from the eye.

Surgical and Other Procedures

While glaucoma surgery may save remaining vision, it does not improve sight.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

A comprehensive treatment plan for glaucoma may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies.


Nutritional tips include the following. Potentially beneficial nutrient supplements include the following. Herbs
The use of herbal remedies may offer relief from symptoms. Herbs are generally available as dried extracts (pills, capsules, or tablets), teas, or tinctures (alcohol extraction, unless otherwise noted). Dose for teas is 1 heaping tsp. per cup of water steeped for 10 minutes (roots need 20 minutes). Homeopathy
An experienced homeopath could prescribe a regimen for treating glaucoma that is designed especially for you. Acute dose is three to five pellets of 12X to 30 C every one to four hours until symptoms are relieved. Some of the most common acute remedies are listed below.

Prognosis/Possible Complications

If glaucoma is not treated early, some vision loss can occur. If you have glaucoma in one eye, your provider may recommend treating your other eye as well, since it is at risk for the same disease process.


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