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Open-Angle Glaucoma

(Chronic Glaucoma; Glaucoma)

Definition

Glaucoma describes a group of eye disorders that causes damage to the optic nerve. This degenerative eye disease is one of the leading causes of chronic blindness in the US. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma in the United States.
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

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. 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 can't be prevented. Regular eye exams are important to screen for eye conditions such as glaucoma.

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

Distelhorst J, Hughes G. Open-angle glaucoma. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(9):1937-1944.

Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma%5Ffacts.asp. Accessed July 17, 2014.

Open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 16, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2014.

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. Accessed July 17, 2014.

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. Accessed July 17, 2014.

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. Accessed July 17, 2014.

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

What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/glaucoma.cfm. Updated September 1, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2014.

What is glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma. Accessed July 17, 2014.

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