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Glaucoma is an eye condition where the optic nerve fibers die from a lack of blood supply (nutrition). The optic nerve receives light from the retina and transmits impulses to the brain that we perceive as vision. Glaucoma is characterized by a particular pattern of progressive damage to the optic nerve that generally begins with a subtle loss of side vision (peripheral vision). If glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated, it can progress to loss of central vision and blindness.Glaucoma is usually, but not always, associated with elevated pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure). Generally, it is this elevated eye pressure that leads to damage of the eye (optic) nerve.
The genetic inheritance of glaucoma is still unclear. However, a family history of glaucoma has been found in up to 50% of patients with the most common type of glaucoma, known as primary open-angle glaucoma.