What is the cause of Glaucoma?

In the great majority of the cases, glaucoma occurs in susceptible individuals. This form of glaucoma is called “primary glaucoma” – it does not occur as a result of any other eye problem.

Glaucoma may also be caused by previous ocular trauma, associated systemic diseases, use of medications, consequence of complicated eye surgeries, and others. In these situations, the disease is called “secondary glaucoma”.

Nevertheless, in all cases, glaucoma occurs mainly due to a sufficiently high IOP leading to damage to the optic nerve. The critical IOP level in which optic nerve damage will occur varies among patients, and it depends upon many variables that will determine each patient´s susceptibility for the disease.

In other cases, IOP may be relatively normal, but glaucoma occurs anyway because of the inability of the eye to handle mechanical stress where the nerve fibers leave the eye or because of poor blood supply to these same nerve fibers.

So, glaucoma damage may occur within the normal IOP levels – normal levels for most of the individuals but not for all. In this situation, the glaucoma may be called “normal tension glaucoma”.

But as a main rule, the higher the IOP, the higher the risk for glaucoma development and progression.


World Glaucoma Association

Important message for glaucoma patients

It is important for you to get yourself regularly screened for glaucoma. If you have been diagnosed to have glaucoma, effective treatment options are now available and regular treatment and follow up can help you to preserve your vision for your lifetime, avoiding unnecessary fear of going blind.

You can live happily with glaucoma and enjoy an excellent quality of life, particularly if the disease is detected early and treated in time. Always remember that once you have glaucoma, you will have to be under the care of an eye doctor for the rest of your life.

There is a lot of research going on and new treatments may become available for glaucoma in the near future.

World Glaucoma Association