Glaucoma, also called glaucoma, is a common eye disease, and it is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. It is estimated that there are currently 500,000 people in Germany suffering from this disease, with many unaware. Approximately 10% of them are blind.

Although the disease is easily and effectively treatable with eye drops, most people are unaware of their disease because the symptoms develop slowly, and are noticeable only in the advanced phases of the disease. Most cases remain untreated for a long time, leading to optic nerve damage and, in severe cases, to blindness.

A continuous flow of clear liquid takes place inside the human eye. This is produced in the rear end of the eyeball and flows to the front parts through the valves. The regulation between production and outflow creates pressure in the eye, which is important for the eyes’ shape and function. A gene that plays an important role in the function of the vent valves was identified some time ago. Unfavorable genetic variations may interfere with the function of the valves so that the produced fluid cannot be properly drained. This leads to a gradual increase in the pressure on the blood vessels that supply the optic nerve with oxygen and nutrients, thus obstructing the blood flow. If this condition persists, the nerves of the eyes start gradually to wither at the far-field of vision; in the worst cases, it may lead to blindness. The brain combines the image of both eyes, and thus initially compensates for the vision impairment. The disease is usually diagnosed only when both eyes are affected, and the patient experienced difficulties; for example, overlooking parts of the words when reading, or having problems while driving. By this time, the optic nerves are often severely damaged, resulting in most cases in a permanent impairment of the visual field or leading to blindness. After diagnosis, treatment focuses on reducing the eye pressure and on preventing further death of nerve cells. Damaged nerve cells cannot be restored.

Preventive genetic testing for glaucoma is recommended because it determines your personal risk for glaucoma. If required, start a medical monitoring program, which ensures that the first signs of the disease are immediately recognized and treated properly.

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