Glaucoma is a group of diseases in which progressive atrophy of the optic nerve leads to loss of vision. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain, and as it becomes damaged, vision is lost. The principal risk factor is eye pressure that is too high for the continued health of the optic nerve.
In most instances, the cause of glaucoma is unknown. It often occurs in a seemingly normal appearing eye without evidence of other conditions. In certain conditions, such as trauma, eye tumors or abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye is a known reason for the elevated eye pressure, but this represents only a small number of patients.
It does not appear that any specific foods or activities cause glaucoma, although exercise may lead to slightly lower eye pressure. In addition, there does not seem to be any direct relationship between other medical illnesses, such as high blood pressure, and glaucoma.
Much active research is currently being carried out to try to find the cause of visual loss in glaucoma.