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E. The Facts About Glaucoma

Narrator: This is Science Today. Glaucoma, a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged, occurs when fluid in the eye cannot drain properly, causing an increase of pressure in the eye. Dr. Robert Weinreb of the University of California, San Diego says in this respect, the eye is very much like a sink.

Weinreb: In the case of glaucoma, for some reason, the drain gets blocked and the fluid is entering the eye but can not leave the eye at the same rate that it's entering. And this causes the fluid pressure to increase in the eye...very much like if you stop up a drain in the sink in your kitchen, the fluid level is going to rise.

Narrator: Glaucoma is most often treated by unstopping the drain and reducing the amount of fluid that flows into the eye.

Weinreb: Initially, our treatment consists of a series of eye drops that reduce the amount of fluid flowing into the eye or open up the drain.

Narrator: Weinreb says the key to preventing glaucoma is early detection and recommends people at risk have an annual exam. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.