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Open-Angle Glaucoma

(Chronic Glaucoma; Glaucoma)

Definition

Glaucoma describes a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. This degenerative eye disease is one of the leading causes of chronic blindness in the United States. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma can often be controlled well with proper treatment, and most patients who receive treatment will maintain their vision.
Glaucoma
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Causes

Open-angle glaucoma is caused by increased intraocular pressure. Within the eye, fluid is made and then drained from the eye. If either the fluid is made too quickly (not common) or drains too slowly, then the pressure of the eye can increase, leading to damage to the optic nerve.
This damage to the optic nerve can lead to a decrease in peripheral vision and may eventually cause blindness.

Risk Factors

The risk of glaucoma increases with age. Glaucoma is more common in African American and Hispanic people. Other factors that may increase your chance of getting glaucoma include:

Symptoms

Many patients with open-angle glaucoma experience few or no symptoms until the disease has progressed to the very late stages. Visual symptoms may include:
Other symptoms may include:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to reduce intraocular pressure. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Prevention

Open-angle glaucoma cannot be prevented. However, it is important to get regular eye exams to screen for glaucoma and other conditions that can affect your vision. Talk to your doctor about how often your eyes should be examined.

RESOURCES

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

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

CANADIAN RESOURCES

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

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

References

Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma%5Ffacts.asp. Accessed May 10, 2016.

Open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 25, 2016. Accessed May 10, 2016.

What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/glaucoma.cfm. Updated February 14, 2014. Accessed May 10, 2016.

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma. Updated February 18, 2014. Accessed May 10, 2016.

Weinreb RN, Khaw PT. Primary open-angle glaucoma. Lancet. 2004;363:1711.

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 May 10, 2016.

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 May 10, 2016.

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 May 10, 2016.

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