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This complicated disease causes damage to the optic nerve which leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma progressively damages the retina and the optic nerve, leading to visual field loss and eventually to blindness.


Abnormally high pressure inside your eye (intraocular pressure) usually, but not always, causes this damage.


Different types of Glaucoma

Primary chronic open-angle glaucoma (POAG):
This is the most common one and its frequency increases greatly with age. This increase occurs because the drainage mechanism gradually may become clogged with aging, even though the drainage angle is open. As a consequence, the aqueous fluid does not drain from the eye properly. The pressure within the eye, therefore, builds up painlessly and without symptoms. Since the resulting loss of vision starts on the side (peripherally), people are usually not aware of the problem until the loss encroaches on their central visual area. Therefore, Glaucoma is also called “the silent thief of sight”.

Angle-closure glaucoma:
Also called acute or chronic angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma, is a type less commonly seen. It causes a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye and the symptoms are more noticeable.
Symptoms: Blurred vision, severe pain, nausea, and halos around lights.

Drainage may be poor because the angle between the iris and the cornea (where a drainage channel for the eye is located) is too narrow. Or, the pupil opens too wide, narrowing the angle and blocking the flow of the fluid through that channel.

Normal tension (pressure) glaucoma or low tension glaucoma:
These are variants of primary chronic open-angle glaucoma that are being recognized more frequently than in the past. This type of glaucoma is thought to be due to decreased blood flow to the optic nerve. This condition is characterized by progressive optic-nerve damage and loss of peripheral vision (visual field) despite intraocular pressures in the normal range or even below normal. This type of glaucoma can be diagnosed by repeated examinations by the eye doctor to detect the nerve damage or the visual field loss.

Congenital (infantile) glaucoma
is a relatively rare, inherited type of open-angle glaucoma. In this condition, the drainage area is not properly developed before birth. This results in increased pressure in the eye that can lead to the loss of vision from optic-nerve damage and also to an enlarged eye. The eye of a young child enlarges in response to increased intraocular pressure because it is more pliable than the eye of an adult. Congenital glaucoma also presents other noticeable symptoms in the infant such as cloudy cornea, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing.


Eye drops with medication aimed at lowering IOP usually are tried first to control glaucoma. Since glaucoma is often painless, people become careless about the strict use of eye drops that can control eye pressure and help prevent permanent eye damage.
Medication, surgery or lasers, may also be needed, depending on the severity of the glaucoma.