Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans and second worldwide. Everybody is at risk for glaucoma, but it is more common over 50 years of age, in family members of those with glaucoma, in diabetics and African-Americans.
Glaucoma damages your optic nerve. When enough nerve fibers have been lost, you may experience loss of your peripheral or side vision. However, initially glaucoma is a silent disease, there may be no symptoms to warn you. If untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness.
If diagnosed early, your sight may be preserved, so that no further damage occurs. But the vision that has already been lost cannot be recovered, even with treatment. That is why early treatment is so important.
About 50% of Americans with glaucoma do not know that they have it. Even the "puff test" or intraocular pressure check can miss as many as 50% of cases when used alone.
The best way to protect your eyes is to get tested with a dilated eye exam. Your doctor will order additional tests if necessary.