Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts, first among some population groups; but, it doesn't have to be.
Glaucoma is characterized by a buildup of pressure within one or both eyes. Pressure begins to build when aqueous fluid (aqueous humor), produced within the posterior chamber of the eye (see figure – posterior chamber found behind the iris and in front of the lens), does not drain properly, i.e., aqueous fluid is produced faster than it is drained and absorbed.
Normally, aqueous fluid flows from the posterior chamber of the eye through the pupil of the iris into the anterior chamber of the eye (see figure – anterior chamber located in front of the iris and behind the cornea); and then, > 98% of the aqueous fluid exits the eye via either the “trabecular meshwork and Schlemm's canal” or absorbed via active physiological processes by the ciliary body face and choroidal vasculature located at the “angle” - where the cornea, iris, and sclera meet.
The “angle” is said to be closed when the angle between the iris and cornea is reduced to a point that the flow of aqueous fluid from the anterior chamber to the drainage network is restricted. This will cause pressure to build in the eye, and is sometimes accompanied by pain. This condition is referred to as “closed angle” glaucoma. When, on the other hand, the angle remains “open” but pressure builds within the eye, the cause can be traced to blockage or improper operation of the drainage/absorption network. As pressure increases within the anterior and posterior chambers, pressure is transferred to the lens through vitreous fluid and in turn to the optic nerve and choroidal layer. When the choroidal layer becomes compressed, blood vessels within this layer are also compressed restricting blood supply to the optic nerve. In either case, whether increased intraocular pressure occurs within a closed or open angle environment, if left untreated, will lead to irreversible optic nerve damage and loss of sight up to and including blindness. The goal of the Sight for Life foundation is to significantly reduce sight loss and blindness caused by ocular trauma or preventable/manageable ocular disease. The foundation has created the CEGO program in pursuit of this goal. The Sight for Life Foundation team is working towards "Sight for Life" for all.
Sight For Life Foundation (210) 223-9292 311 Camden St., Ste. 306 San Antonio, TX 78215