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January is National GLAUCOMA Awareness Month
Glaucoma most often refers to the vision loss caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) as a result of greater production than outflow of the fluid of the eye (the aqueous humor). The normal intraocular pressure is about 10 to 21 mm Hg. In chronic glaucoma, the intraocular pressure is usually mildly to moderately elevated (22 to 40 mm Hg). In acute glaucoma, the intraocular pressure is greater than 40 mm Hg. Acute glaucoma is a medical emergency, fortunately it is the rarest form of glaucoma.
Chronic open-angle type glaucoma is by far the most common form. It accounts for about 70-75% of the approximately 3 million people in the United States who have glaucoma.
In some cases glaucoma develops in people with normal IOP. Referred to as low-tension glaucoma or normotensive glaucoma (NTG), this form accounts for approximately 25 to 30 percent of all glaucoma cases in the United States. NTG is more common in women than in men and affects adults averaging 60 years old. A common risk factor for NTG is low blood pressure.
Since many patients with glaucoma have no symptoms, it is important that regular eye exams be included in their annual checkup after the age of sixty. Glaucoma is a serious condition that requires strict attention.
What are the signs and symptoms of GLAUCOMA?
For more information please refer to the corresponding chapter in the 3rd Edition of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.