Definition of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a serious condition characterized by the abnormal build-up of fluid, called aqueous humor, inside the eye. The volume of aqueous humor normally is carefully regulated to keep the eyeball in its proper shape; this happens from a slow but fairly continuous exchange of fluid between the inner eye chambers and circulating blood. This balance is disturbed in dogs with glaucoma, because aqueous humor is being made faster than it can be removed. Glaucoma can be genetic or be caused by eye damage or disease. Either way, dogs develop increased intraocular pressure, visional impairment from degeneration of the retina and optical nerve and, if untreated, eventually blindness. Glaucoma is normally not life-threatening, but it can adversely affect a dog’s quality of life as its vision deteriorates. Fortunately, routine eye examinations can identify changes in pressure inside the eyes, which allows for meaningful medical management before full-stage glaucoma develops.