What is glaucoma?

KYW Staff
February 04, 2020 - 4:00 am
An eye doctor giving a test.

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KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Glaucoma is a group of diseases that causes progressive damage and degeneration of the optic nerve, which also causes gradual loss of vision. 

It's the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and it is predicted to affect 76 million people by the end of the year. 

There is still no proven cure for the disease, but treatment can reliably slow or halt deterioration in most cases. 

Up to 50% of those affected are not even aware. 

Testing is available, but people need to have vision checks to detect the condition which is much like high blood pressure — silent, but potentially damaging.