Glaucoma in the United States Over the Last Ten Years This research paper examines glaucoma over the age of 40 in the United States, in the last 10 years. Knowing the fact that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States leads us to choose this subject for research. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steals sight without warning and often without symptoms. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires and is responsible for carrying the images we see to the brain. The two main types of glaucoma are open angle glaucoma, or primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle closure glaucoma. Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma. Glaucoma is a chronic disease that must be treated for life. However, much is happening in research that makes us hopeful a cure may be realized in our lifetime. There is exciting work being conducted by scientists all over the world in the areas of genetics, neuroprotection and neuroregeneration. These areas of study deal with the origins and pathology of glaucoma as opposed to managing symptoms. A cure is on the way. Glaucoma over the Age of Forty in the United States The term "glaucoma" encompasses a group of eye diseases, not a single entity. Glaucoma is described broadly in terms of aqueous fluid drainage through the trabecular meshwork, the major outflow pathway. There are two main types: angle closure glaucoma and open angle glaucoma. Open angle glaucoma is far more common in the United States. The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines primary angle closure glaucoma as "An appositional or synechial closure of the anterior chamber angle caused by relative pupillary block in the absence of other causes of angle closure". The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines primary open angle glaucoma as a "Multifactorial optic neuropathy in which there is a characteristic acquired loss of optic nerve fibers". Classifying glaucoma broadly into angle closure glaucoma or open angle glaucoma is helpful from both a diagnostic and pathophysiological perspective. Problem Statement In the United States, approximately 2.2 million people age 40 and older have glaucoma, and of these, as many as 120,000 are blind due to the disease. The number of Americans with glaucoma is estimated to increase to 3.3 million by the year 2020. Each year, there are more than 300,000 new cases of glaucoma and approximately 5,400 people suffer complete blindness.