Glaucoma

How Glaucoma Affects the Eye

optic-nerve-cable-analogy

The optic nerve transmits the visual image created in the eye to the brain like the cable company sends a program to your television.

Each tiny nerve fiber of the optic nerve is responsible for a certain area of vision. Glaucoma damage causes these tiny nerve fibers to degenerate. The loss of a few nerve fibers is completely unnoticeable. This is why mild glaucoma has no symptoms. As more and more nerve fibers are damaged, subtle changes start to develop with certain areas of the vision becoming less clear. Even this is usually so mild that the average person doesn’t notice any changes in their vision. Small changes like this can be detected with a visual field test that measures glaucoma damage in the peripheral vision. With more damage over time you may start to notice trouble seeing things in dim lighting and a general decrease in the quality of the vision. In late stages of the disease severe visual disability and blindness can occur. Glaucoma damage to the nerve fibers is permanent and irreversible. Once areas in the vision are lost they can never be brought back. That is why treatment and close monitoring are so important.

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