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Friday, August 1, 2014
Your eye is like a camera – it takes pictures of the outside world.
Your brain is like a computer – it takes information from your eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and ears and makes sense of everything.
The optic nerve is like a cable that connects the camera to a computer.
In glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged. If this happens, information from the camera cannot get to the computer. Even though your eyes may be working, your brain cannot get the signals because the wire connecting them is broken.
You can get glaucoma in one eye, or both. Glaucoma does not spread from one eye to the other.
You are more likely to get glaucoma if you have the following risk factors:
Your eye doctor might be worried about glaucoma if you have:
You might have some of the symptoms in the list above, or you might have no symptoms at all if early on.
When you go to the eye doctor, he can measure your eye pressure and see your optic nerve by looking through the microscope, or by doing some tests.
The Cup-to-Disc ratio is how your optic nerve looks in the back of your eye. It is a way of monitoring the damage from glaucoma.
Early on, eye drops can be used to lower the pressure. There are many types of eye drops, and your doctor will help you find the right combination of drops for you to use in order to control your eye pressure.
If your eye pressure stays high, or if there is damage to the optic nerve despite using drops, surgery might be needed to lower your eye pressure.
Prepared in partnership with Lily Huang, MD, Class of 2013, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
Last Reviewed: Oct 01, 2012
Suber S Huang, MD, MBA
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University