Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve (the nerve that leads from the eye into the brain and enables us to see) becomes damaged. This can lead to complete vision loss if it is not treated.
Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused when the fluid inside the eye builds up. The fluid builds up because it can’t circulate around the eye or drain from the eye into the blood stream as normal. This traps the fluid, and increases the fluid pressure inside the eye, which in turn presses on the optic nerve, damaging it and resulting in vision loss. Damage to the optic nerve can also be caused by poor blood supply to the optic nerve, and/or a problem with the optic nerve or nerve fibres themselves.
Over 300,000 Australians have glaucoma. It can occur at any age, but it is more common in older people.