Early detection and treatment might help save your sight

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that may rob you of your vision. Its exact cause is unknown. In many cases, it’s believed to occur when pressure builds up in your eye. This damages your optic nerve. That’s the nerve that carries information from your eye to your brain, where the information is interpreted.

Once you lose vision to glaucoma, you don’t get it back. But with early detection and treatment, you can prevent your vision from getting worse. This makes regular follow-up with your ophthalmologist crucial.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Recognizing symptoms, getting a diagnosis

There are several types of glaucoma, including:

The most common type in the U.S. causes you to lose your vision so slowly you may not notice at first. It usually affects both eyes at once, and your side vision tends to worsen before your central vision. An ophthalmologist may find the disease during a dilated eye exam.

A much rarer type of glaucoma, it can happen suddenly and is an emergency. Symptoms may include blurred vision, pain in or around an eye or seeing colored halos around lights. CAG usually affects only one eye at a time. 

A rare type of glaucoma that children have when they are born. Sometimes, it shows up in older children. Symptoms include sensitivity to light and watery eyes. 

Treatments and research

Protecting your vision today and tomorrow

Glaucoma treatment focuses on preventing it from getting worse. We do not yet have a cure.


There are three main treatments for glaucoma:

  • Medication: This is the most common treatment. It involves daily eye drops that lower your eye pressure.

  • Laser treatment: Your doctor may use a laser to help fluid drain from your eye.

  • Surgery: If other treatments don’t help, surgery may make it easier for fluid to drain from your eye.

Once you learn you have glaucoma, it’s essential to see your ophthalmologist for regular follow-up.


Researchers at the UW-Madison Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and in the Clinical Eye Research Unit study and develop better treatments for eye diseases such as glaucoma. They aim to help people have the best possible vision and to one day prevent blindness. Participating in clinical trials may give you access to exciting new treatments and therapies.

Learn more about our Clinical Eye Research Unit.

Meet our team

An eye care team that’s focused on you

We have a large team of experienced eye care providers. Several specialize in understanding and treating glaucoma. They protect your vision and provide the best possible care.

Adult providers
Pediatric providers


See an ophthalmologist near you

Ophthalmologists provide care in and around the Madison area and offer teleophthalmology screenings to serve even more communities outside of Madison. Make an appointment today.

Patient support and services

Learn more about glaucoma

These resources can help you learn more about glaucoma and its treatments: