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Glaucoma is a medical ocular condition in which the pressure of the eye is too high for that eye. This slowly causes damage to the optic nerve and can result in vision loss if left untreated. Although in the past it was thought that only people with “high” eye pressure can get glaucoma, we now know that people with “normal” eye pressure can also have glaucoma. Some risk factors for glaucoma include the following: family history of glaucoma, African American, Asian or Hispanic race, age over 60, history of blunt force trauma to the eye, unmanaged sleep apnea, hypotension, diabetes, history of migraines, steroid use, and high nearsightedness. In most cases, there are no symptoms of glaucoma. However, signs of it can be detected at routine eye exam, leading to further evaluation and diagnosis. Vision loss associated with glaucoma is irreversible but treatment is available to decrease the rate of progression of the disease. Treatment typically begins with eye drops at bedtime to lower the eye pressure to a place that is considered safer for the eye. In some cases, surgery is necessary to reach the target eye pressure. Annual comprehensive eye exams are necessary to ensure good ocular health, especially in patients with risk factors for developing glaucoma.

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