Glaucoma is a disease which destroys the functionality of your eyes. It works like this:

Your eyes, like many other body parts, are filled with fluid which is constantly regulated. Circling your pupil beneath your iris is a mesh which acts as a drain for old fluid as your eye produces new fluid to replace it.
Glaucoma is an abnormality in this mesh which hinders the drainage, causing an increase in pressure. When a container is subject to destructive levels of pressure, the first part to sustain damage is the weakest. (That's why the top of a can of soda is usually the part that ruptures when you leave it in the freezer too long.) The weakest part in your eye is the optic nerve. As the pressure in the eye increases, the optic nerve begins to sustain damage, causing first a degredation in peripheral vision and then loss in the entire visual field.

Though usually a result of advanced age, glaucoma can be inherited through a coupling of recessive alleles, providing that the offspring inherits both recessive genes.(congenital glaucoma).

Early detection and surgical correction may stop the source of the damage, but current medical technology cannot repair the nerve once it's been crushed.
Early detection with congenital glaucoma is difficult since infants cannot report on the condition of their eyesight.

Symptoms include:

- A cloudiness of the pupil
- Extreme pain in the eyes
- gradual vision loss, especially peripheral

Since dialation of the pupils causes the area covered by the mesh to decrease, certain medications should be avoided by people suffering from glaucoma, such as cough medicines, opiates and, in general, anything which causes the eyes to dialate.(This includes illegal drugs like LSD and XTC.) As many people know from recent media attention on medical marijuana. THC can temporarily relieve the pressure in your eyes, making it therapeutic for glaucoma sufferers.

Glau*co"ma (?), n. [L., fr. Gr. , fr. light gray, blue gray.] Med.

Dimness or abolition of sight, with a diminution of transparency, a bluish or greenish tinge of the refracting media of the eye, and a hard inelastic condition of the eyeball, with marked increase of tension within the eyeball.


© Webster 1913.

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