Why Does Glaucoma Develop?

Dr. Robert Lee Ophthalmologist Manahawkin, NJ

Robert E. Lee III, MD, is an ophthalmologist who diagnoses and treats patients at Southern Shores Eye Center PA in Manahawkin, New Jersey. Serving the Manahawkin and surrounding communities for over 20 years, he embraced his role with Southern Shores Eye Center in 1998 and has been a managing partner since 2003. Furthermore,... more

Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve. It's the most common form of optic nerve damage leading to vision loss. Glaucoma is a common age-related eye problem that affects about three million Americans. Worldwide, it's the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts. It can affect people of all races and genders and the risk of development increase with age. 

This eye condition can occur without any cause but is affected by many factors. The most important factor is intraocular eye pressure. Our eyes produce a fluid called aqueous humor that nourishes them, this liquid flows through the pupil to the front of the eye. In a healthy eye, the fluid leaves through a drainage canal located between the iris and cornea. For eyes with glaucoma, the drainage canals become clogged with microscopic deposits. The fluid has nowhere to go, so it builds up in the eye. This excess fluid puts pressure on the eye. Over time, this elevated eye pressure can damage the optic nerve leading to glaucoma.

Untreated glaucoma can accelerate the development of permanent vision loss or blindness. Treatments can slow down additional vision loss. Glaucoma surgery can help slow down vision loss, but it can’t restore lost vision or cure glaucoma. There are many types of surgeries for glaucoma, depending on the specific type and severity.