Glaucoma is the #1 cause of blindness in the African-American population, but anyone can have it. It is a disease in which the optic nerve fibers are damaged. Normally, this is a result of elevated eye pressure due to an impaired drainage of the aqueous fluid within the eye. There are several types of glaucoma.
Open angle glaucoma is the most common type. There are usually no symptoms. The eye appears to look and see normally. Mild pressure elevations gradually damage the nerve fiber layer. As more and more nerves die, a depression called cupping increases. When enough damage takes place, peripheral vision develops defects. Only in the later stages of the disease does the patient notice a loss of vision.