Damage of the Optic Nerve

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for sending the images you see to your brain. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form and the type people usually mean when they refer to glaucoma.

There are several types of glaucoma, including:

  • Open-angle glaucoma: occurs when slowly increasing pressure on your optic nerve causes blind spots and gaps in your vision
  • Closed-angle glaucoma: an emergency that occurs when fluid in your eye suddenly becomes trapped, causing a rapid rise in your eye pressure
  • Secondary glaucoma: occurs due to a known cause like medication or eye disease
  • Congenital glaucoma: a rare condition that’s present at birth when the eye does not develop normally

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

In its early stages, glaucoma does not have any symptoms other than the gradual deterioration of your vision. Over time, you may start to lose peripheral vision and be unable to see things located at your sides.

See your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Sudden, severe eye pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Redness in your eye
  • Seeing colored rings around lights
  • Sudden blurred vision

To diagnose glaucoma, the experts at Penn State Health perform a complete examination of your optic nerve and eye, including:

  • Tonometry – a test that checks your eye pressure
  • Gonioscopy – an examination of your eye’s drainage system
  • Pachymetry – a measurement of your corneal thickness

If the pressure on your optic nerve can be returned to normal, vision loss can be slowed or stopped. Since there is no cure for glaucoma, lifetime treatment may be required to minimize the condition’s effects. Lost vision cannot be restored.

Experts in Care

Meet our doctors, view their profiles and select the one that’s right for you.

Find a doctor near you

Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Expert Interdisciplinary Care

At Penn State Health Eye Center, we understand the impact glaucoma has on your quality of life. Our interdisciplinary team of specialists is highly skilled at diagnosing, treating and managing all types of glaucoma and supporting you through the challenges the condition brings to your life. We offer leading-edge technology provided by experts with specialized training and certification.

Our glaucoma surgeons offer a higher level of expertise and training than you'll experience at most eye centers.

Support Groups

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other patients and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered

Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a location near you