(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.
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
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