This review will focus on the most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). The 3 other types of glaucoma are: acute angle-closure glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and congenital glaucoma. Glaucoma causes decreased vision and can lead to blindness by damaging the optic nerve—the major nerve in the eye that controls vision.
Glaucoma is the top cause of irreversible blindness in the world. In 2000, researchers estimate that more than 2 million Americans had POAG. In the same year, researchers also estimated that more than 130,000 people in the U.S. had become blind due to POAG.
POAG is the most common cause of irreversible blindness among African Americans. Glaucoma usually damages your eyes slowly, over many years. You may not know you have glaucoma until your vision has been irreversible damaged. Getting regular tests for glaucoma by your eye doctor can help prevent this kind of damage.
The exact cause of POAG is not known. POAG occurs when eye fluid, known as aqueous humor, backs up in your eye. Doctors and researchers do not know exactly why the fluid backs up, but it may be due to poor drainage of the fluid. When the aqueous humor builds up in your eye, the extra pressure can damage the optic nerve, damaging your vision.
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