Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of vision loss in seniors in Canada. More than 250,000 Canadians have chronic open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease.

Glaucoma involves damage to the optic nerve most often caused by high pressure inside the eye due to a build up of excess fluid. High eye pressure is not always a sign that you have glaucoma but may be an indication you are at risk of developing it.

Over time the disease develops into a loss of peripheral (side) vision. If glaucoma is untreated it could advance to later stages where central vision narrows to "tunnel" vision, or it may result in complete loss of vision. Early detection and treatment is essential to prevent severe vision loss or blindness.

Types of Glaucoma + Risk Factors

Primary Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma accounts for 90 per cent of all cases in Canada – Initially you can perform all normal daily activities such as driving and reading and vision loss is not obvious until it is too late and permanent.

Primary acute closed-angle glaucoma results from a buildup of fluid in the eye because the distance between the iris and the drainage system has been closed, stopping fluid from draining from the eye. Occurs very suddenly and is an emergency.

Secondary Glaucoma can result from a variety of other conditions such as an eye injury or inflammation, eye surgery complications, diabetes and the use of certain medications.

Risk Factors:

  • Elevated pressure in the eye
  • Family history
  • Age – after age 40 and after age 60
  • Ethnicity
  • Myopia
  • Diabetes
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Jerry Smith

Meet Jerry Smith, 69, who has glaucoma and is a dedicated volunteer for CNIB.

Watch Jerry Smith's Story