Jan 22, 2014 7:24 PM by Annie Snead
Glaucoma can lead to blindness and many times there aren't any symptoms.
"You don't know you have it, it's a silent disease that come to you," said Lonnie Richardson.
Richardson was diagnosed with glaucoma 25 years ago.
He was in the army stationed at Walter Reed Medical Center, when he started getting headaches.
"The headaches were getting extraordinary, so I just went down, and had my eyes examined. I didn't even know what glaucoma was at the time and they had mentioned that I had pressure in my eyes," he said.
Lonnie is one of the lucky ones, catching it early enough to keep his sight.
"The biggest problem with glaucoma is, almost always it's a-symptomatic, you're not going to feel anything and you can go completely blind from glaucoma without even knowing it," said Dr. Blake Simmons with St. Luke's Eye Care in Colorado Springs.
Dr. Simmons says the disease of the optic nerve is primarily found in those that are older, but people of all ages should consider regular eye exams.
"It does it so slowly that it starts from the outside and takes away the vision so slowly over years and years that nobody ever knows they have glaucoma until it's too late," said Dr. Simmons.
Dr. Simmons says we're all born with different amounts of tissue, but it should always stay the same.
When it starts to thin - that's glaucoma.
Treatment varies from eyedrops, to lowering pressure in the eye, and sometimes surgery.
But the key is early detection.
"It is extremely sad when we catch it too late, because a lot of times, we can slow it a little bit, but we know in our hearts that the patient is going to go blind eventually," Dr. Simmons said.
"Have your eyes checked, you're never too old or too young, get em checked," added Lonnie.