Teen Report: What Is Glaucoma?

It's estimated that three million Americans have it. Only half know they do.

The Interact Club at Chiles High School is making more teens aware of glaucoma, and one of them speaks from experience.

Sonal Sathe, a glaucoma patient, says, "If we can make more people aware of what glaucoma is than they can go get there eyes checked that way it doesn't sneak up on them and momentarily just blind them one day. That way people don't have to go through that."

Most teenagers don't know what glaucoma is and might be under the misconception that it can't affect them until they're older.

Sherese Perkins, a student at Chiles, says, "I know that it is an eye disorder and it affects with your vision and can cause you to go blind, and I would think that older people generally tend to get it. I don't know who it really strikes age-wise, but I do know that African-Americans are more susceptible to the disease than other people."

So what exactly is glaucoma?

Sonal Sathe says, "Glaucoma is basically an eye disease that occurs when your eyes don't drain out as much fluid as they should and basically what happens is it creates something known as high eyeball pressure that can damage your optic nerve which enables you to see, and if that happens your vision can be destroyed and eventually you can go blind."

The Interact Club wants to make sure all teens can see the importance in knowing what glaucoma is and how it could affect them.

Treatment for the disease includes drugs or surgery. There is no cure for glaucoma, but early diagnosis could help preserve eyesight.