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Open-angle Glaucoma

(Chronic Glaucoma; Glaucoma)

Definition

Glaucoma describes a group of eye diseases that harm the optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form.

Glaucoma
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Causes

Fluid is made inside the eye. Glaucoma is caused by fluid that drains too slowly. This can increase pressure in the eye and harm the optic nerve.

Risk Factors

It is more common in older adults. It is also more common in people of African and Hispanic descent.

Other factors that may increase your risk are:

  • Having increased eye pressure
  • Certain eye problems, such as a thin cornea
  • Nearsightedness
  • Having other people in your family who have glaucoma

Symptoms

There may not be symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms happen, there may be:

  • Problems driving at night
  • Problems seeing things that are close up
  • Reading more slowly than usual

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history.

An eye exam will be done. These tests will be part of it:

  • Tonometry—a test to find out the pressure inside of your eye
  • Visual field test to find out if you have vision loss
  • Photographs of the optic nerve
  • Gonioscopy—to see if the area where fluid drains out of your eye is open or closed
  • Analysis of the nerve fiber layer around the optic nerve

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to lower pressure in the eye and monitor for any changes over time. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Choices are:

  • Medicine to lower the amount of fluid the eye makes or increase the flow of fluid
  • Laser treatment to increase the flow of fluid
  • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) to drain fluid using stents, bypasses, or implants
  • Surgery to drain excess fluid from the eye

Prevention

Open-angle glaucoma cannot be prevented.

RESOURCES:

The Glaucoma Foundation
http://www.glaucomafoundation.org

Glaucoma Research Foundation
http://www.glaucoma.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

The Canadian Ophthalmological Society
http://www.cos-sco.ca

Glaucoma Research Society of Canada
http://www.glaucomaresearch.ca

REFERENCES:

Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp. Updated September 2015. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Primary open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114157/Primary-open-angle-glaucoma. Updated July 12, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Vision screening recommendations for adults over 60. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/seniors-screening.cfm. Updated March 3, 2014. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Vision screening recommendations for adults under 40. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/young-adults-screening.cfm. Updated July 17, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Vision screening recommendations for adults 40 to 60. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/midlife-adults-screening.cfm. Updated March 3, 2014. Accessed July 29, 2019.

What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/glaucoma.cfm. Updated November 28, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma. Accessed July 30, 2019.

10/5/2017 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T919533/Surgical-procedures-for-primary-open-angle-glaucoma: Manasses DT, Au L. The new era of glaucoma micro-stent surgery. Ophthalmol Ther. 2016;5(2):135-146.

2/8/2018 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114157/Primary-open-angle-glaucoma: Wang S, Liu Y, et al. Hypothyroidism as a risk factor for open angle glaucoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017 Oct 25;12(10):e0186634.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 10/23/2019