Types of Glaucoma: Open Angle vs. Closed Angle

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that, over time, damages the eye’s optic nerve. This occurs when fluid in the front part of the eye begins to build up, and the increase of extra fluid causes the pressure in the eye to increase as well.  The optic nerve is damaged from this extra pressure.  There are mainly two types of glaucoma: open angle vs. closed angle glaucoma.

Open-Angle Glaucoma:

The most common form of glaucoma is Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, or POAG.  POAG usually occurs in people over the age of 40. In fact, many Americans have POAG and are unaware of it because symptoms of glaucoma do not appear until very late in the disease process.  POAG is painless and slowly impairs one’s vision, which is why it is important to regularly visit the ophthalmologist for a checkup.  Usually, the peripheral field of vision is the first to be affected with blind spots.  Once POAG reaches its advanced stages the visual damage is irreversible.

Closed Angle Glaucoma:

Closed angle glaucoma is also known as acute angle closure glaucoma or narrow angle glaucoma and is not very common. It occurs when the patient’s iris is near the drainage angle in their eye. As a result, the iris can ultimately block that drainage angle which leads to the increase of eye pressure at a fast pace. This rapid increase in eye pressure can be dangerous and is referred to as a closed angle glaucoma attack.

Symptoms of an acute attack include:

  • Sudden blurry vision
  • Severe eye pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Treatment:

At this time, glaucoma has no cure, but the disease process can be slowed by treatment. Each type of glaucoma will have a different treatment plan. Taking prescribed medications regularly, usually in the form of eye drops, is crucial to preventing glaucomatous vision loss. Glaucoma treatment include topical eye drops, laser treatment, and/or incisional glaucoma surgery to control IOP.

If you have any questions about your eye disease, please schedule a visit with Eye Physicians of North Houston at (281) 893-1760 or visit us online for more information at www.northhoustoneyecare.com.

 

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