Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington

Glaucoma: See For Yourself

Glaucoma causes permanent vision loss. Metropolitan Washington D.C. has the nation's highest rate of glaucoma in the U.S.

Learn what you can do.

More than 3 million Americans have glaucoma – and half don't know it. You could be one of them.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve in the back of your eye. This damage causes permanent vision loss. Damage from glaucoma happens slowly over a long period, so without regular eye exams, it is difficult to notice until you have lost most of your vision.

Known as the "sneaky thief" of sight, glaucoma is usually caused by fluid buildup in the front of your eye due to your eye's drainage system working incorrectly. In the most common form, primary-open angle glaucoma, you do not feel the pressure build-up happening. 

There are no early warning signs or symptoms. As the disease progresses, you may notice blind spots in your side vision. However, most do not notice a change until there has been a severe loss of sight.

But glaucoma can be managed, and a lot of vision loss can be avoided! By educating yourself, friends, and family and getting regular comprehensive eye exams, you can prevent or greatly slow sight loss from glaucoma!

Know the Risks

Learn about the common risk factors associated with Glaucoma. Be aware of how that might play into your health. 

Key Risk Factors

  • Are you African American AND age 40 or older?
  • Are you over age 60?
  • Do you have a family history of glaucoma?
What to Know

Take Action

By educating yourself, friends, and family, and getting regular comprehensive eye exams, you can prevent or greatly slow sight loss from Glaucoma!

Take Action

  • Schedule an eye exam
  • Go to your exam
  • Follow-up at least every two years
What to Do

Prepare for your Exam

Prepare for your visit by downloading, printing, and take your Eye Buddy with you to your next comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Take Action

  • Take control. You can own your eye health.
  • Prepare for your exam
  • Bring an Eye Buddy
  • Make and keep your appointments.
  • Listen to your doctor.
  • Ask any questions you have. 
Prepare for Your Exam

Get Help

Resources are available for eye care, including eyeglasses, clinics, screenings, and more. 


  • Financial Resources for Eye Care
  • Eyeglasses Clinic
  • Contact Us
Financial Assistance
Vision with Glaucoma
Normal Vision