Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed. In most people this damage is due to an increased pressure inside the eye — a result of blockage of the circulation of aqueous, or its drainage. In other patients the damage may be caused by poor blood supply to the vital optic nerve fibres, a weakness in the structure of the nerve, and/or a problem in the health of the nerve fibres themselves.
Over 300,000 Australians have glaucoma. While it is more common as people age, it can occur at any age. As our population becomes older, the proportion of glaucoma patients is increasing.
Last Reviewed: 28 June 2007