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Open-angle Glaucoma

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Open-angle Glaucoma

(Chronic Glaucoma; Primary Open-angle Glaucoma, POAG, Glaucoma)


Glaucoma is a groups of eye diseases that can damage the eye nerve. Damage to the nerve can lead to poor eyesight and blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type.

Early treatment can improve outcomes.


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

Risk Factors

Open-angle glaucoma is more common in older adults. It is also more common in people of African and Hispanic descent.

Other things that may raise the risk are:


Open angle glaucoma may not have symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms happen, they may be:

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


The eye doctor will ask about symptoms and past health.

An eye exam will be done. Tests will include:

  • Tonometry—to measure eye pressure
  • Visual field test—to see if there is vision loss
  • Imaging of the eye nerve and other parts of the eye—to check for damage
  • Pachymetry—to check the thickness of the cornea (clear dome over the eye)
  • Gonioscopy—to see if fluid channels in the eye are open or closed


The goal of treatment is to lower eye pressure. The doctor will watch for changes over time. Options are:

  • Eye drops—to reduce the 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
  • Other surgery to drain excess fluid from the eye

Eyesight problems can be stressful. Care may include counseling and support groups.


There are no guidelines to prevent open-angle glaucoma.





  • Eye health information for adults 40 to 65. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/midlife-adults.
  • Eye health information for adults over 65. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/seniors.
  • Primary open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/primary-open-angle-glaucoma.
  • What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma .
  • What is glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: https://glaucoma.org/learn-about-glaucoma/what-is-glaucoma.
  • 8/9/2017 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/management/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.
  • 6/9/2023 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/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;12(10):e0186634.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.