Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve in the eye is damaged. The optic nerve is responsible for capturing the visual details and sharing them with your brain. Glaucoma is most likely caused by increased pressure inside your eye (increased intraocular pressure), which then causes damage to the optic nerve. If not treated, damage to the nerve may lead to vision loss or blindness. If you start the treatment early, you may be able to prevent vision loss and slow the progression of the disease.

Various factors can cause glaucoma. This article will discuss the top 5 causes of glaucoma and discuss if stress and watching television can cause glaucoma.

What is the main cause of glaucoma?

The most common cause of glaucoma is the build-up of pressure in the eye when fluid cannot drain properly. When fluid is unable to drain, it causes an increase in intraocular pressure, which causes optic nerve damage. Often, it is not clear why this happens. However, various risk factors are associated with developing glaucoma.

What are the top 5 main causes of glaucoma?

There are a variety of risk factors associated with developing glaucoma. Here are the top five:

1.     Increase in fluid pressure in the eye: Small glands inside your eye produce fluid, which eventually flows out of the eye through tiny canals. This constant flow keeps the amount of fluid inside the eye at a fine balance. However, when the outflow channel is blocked or disrupted, it leads to a backup of the fluid within the eye. The clogging increases the pressure in the eye and eventually this high pressure damages the optic nerve.

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2.     Family history and genetics: If someone in your family has glaucoma, you may be more likely to develop it too. Some of the rarer types of glaucoma, such as primary open angle glaucoma and normal tension glaucoma, are known to be related to genetic factors. 

3.    Nearsightedness: People with nearsighted vision may be more likely to develop glaucoma, especially as they get older. Some studies have found that the risk of glaucoma is higher in those with higher degrees of nearsightedness.

4.     Aging: Older age is a risk factor for glaucoma. Also, the disease tends to progress with age. As we grow older, the lens in our eye thickens and narrows the angle between the iris and cornea. This narrowing can block or make it harder for eye fluid to flow out of the canals in this area.

5.     Eye injuries: Penetrating or blunt eye injuries are another common reason for glaucoma. Injuries such as head trauma around the eyes, scratches, puncture wounds, or other forms of injuries can make you vulnerable to developing glaucoma and other visual disorders. Traumatic glaucoma may also occur at the time of injury.

Can glaucoma be caused by stress?

It’s unlikely that stress can single handedly cause glaucoma. However, some case reports have found that emotional stress may increase intraocular pressure. Often, stress also increases blood pressure which is a known risk factor for glaucoma. If you are at risk of glaucoma or have been diagnosed with it, it’s another good reason to lower stress in healthy ways. 

Can watching TV cause glaucoma?

No, watching TV does not cause glaucoma. Although there was one study that showed lengthy screen time increases intraocular pressure, there is no evidence to date that watching TV can lead to glaucoma.

Does glaucoma cause blindness?

Glaucoma, if not treated, may cause blindness. Despite treatment, approximately  15 percent of people with glaucoma become blind. 

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If not treated immediately, acute angle-closure glaucoma can cause blindness within 3-5 days. In comparison, open-angle glaucoma is a slow progressive disease, which may take years to cause blindness if not treated. 

So, what are the main causes of glaucoma you should watch out for?

To summarize, some common risk factors for glaucoma are: increased intraocular pressure, age, genetics, nearsightedness, and eye injury.

Other risk factors or causes that can cause glaucoma are medical conditions like high pressure or diabetes, corneas that are thin in the center, and eye surgeries.

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