Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, and 50% of people who have it don’t even know they do.
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Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease specific to the eye and it often has few symptoms. On top of that, the symptoms glaucoma does have can appear after it’s already too late.

So why is this such a stealth disease?

The two main types of glaucoma are open angle and closed angle. Open angle glaucoma is the most common and tends to be less severe, it can develop slowly over time and go undetected unless it is routinely screened for.

Meanwhile, closed angle glaucoma is less common but can appear suddenly and come with a lot of pain. Both closed angle and open angle glaucomas can result in vision loss.

Most the time with a disease like glaucoma, it will slowly affect small areas of vision and often unequally in the two eyes, so our brains get really good and overcompensating and sort of filling the blanks—adding to the illusion that nothing is wrong. Making glaucoma that much more difficult to recognize in oneself.

Your brain working its magic paired with the fact that there are so few symptoms when it comes to glaucoma, you need to have routine screenings that check for the disease—and knowing your family history doesn’t hurt.

If caught early on, there are various glaucoma treatments available including drops, medication, laser surgery, and various other surgeries.

Seeker sits down with Professor John Flanagan, from the School of Optometry at the University of California, Berkeley, to talk all there is to know about glaucoma, on this episode of SICK.

#Glaucoma #Vision #Health #Disease #SICK #Seeker #Science
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SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We’ll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.
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