What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve, which carries information from your eye to your brain. Glaucoma usually affects both eyes and can happen at any age, but is most common in adults over age 60. There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common form is open-angle glaucoma. Get More Information.

Types of Glaucoma

The most common type of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma, occurs when the eye’s drainage system becomes clogged over time. This causes a gradual build-up of pressure inside the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is also called primary open-angle glaucoma or chronic glaucoma because it develops slowly, usually without symptoms, and can go unnoticed until substantial vision loss has occurred. 

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common but more serious. It occurs when the iris (the colored part of the eye) bulges forward, narrowing the drainage angle between the iris and cornea. This can block the outflow of fluid from the eye, causing a rapid increase in intraocular pressure. Angle-closure glaucoma requires immediate medical attention because it can cause permanent vision loss within hours or days. This type of glaucoma is also called acute glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma, or closed-angle glaucoma. 

Normal tension glaucoma is a type of open-angle glaucoma in which damage to the optic nerve occurs even though intraocular pressure remains within the normal range. It is not yet clear why this happens, but researchers believe that normal tension glaucoma may be related to low blood pressure or other conditions that make the optic nerve especially sensitive to light damage.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors for glaucoma, including: 

  • Age: Glaucoma is most common in adults over age 60. However, children and young adults can also develop glaucoma.
  • Family history: If you have a family member with glaucoma, you are at increased risk for the condition.
  • Race: African Americans are at higher risk for glaucoma than other groups. They are also more likely to develop angle-closure glaucoma.
  • Medical conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease can increase your risk for glaucoma.
  • Previous eye injury or surgery: A history of eye injuries or previous eye surgery may increase your risk for glaucoma.
  • Use of certain medications: The use of steroids or other medications that can increase intraocular pressure can lead to glaucoma.


While there is no cure for glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can protect your eyesight. Treatment options include: 

  • Medications: There are a variety of medications available to treat glaucoma. These can be used alone or in combination with each other. Commonly used medications include beta blockers, prostaglandin analogs, alpha agonists, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. 
  • Surgery: If medications are not effective in controlling glaucoma, surgery may be an option. Several different types of surgical procedures can be used to treat glaucoma, including laser surgery and conventional filtration surgery.

Glaucoma is a condition of the eye that results in damage to the optic nerve. This can lead to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. There are different types of glaucoma, each with its signs and symptoms. Some people are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma than others. Treatment options vary depending on the type of glaucoma diagnosed. See this.