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What is open-angle glaucoma?

Laura C. Fine, MD
Ophthalmology
Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma (a group of eye diseases that cause vision loss through damage to the optic nerve), accounting for more than 90% of all cases in the United States. It strikes black and Hispanic people far more frequently than whites, is most prevalent in people over 50, and tends to run in families.

Open-angle glaucoma develops as the drainage angle of the eye becomes less efficient over time, and pressure within the eye gradually increases, which can damage the optic nerve. In some patients, the optic nerve becomes sensitive even to “normal” eye pressure and is at risk for damage. Whether eye pressure is very high or in the normal range, treatment is necessary to prevent further vision loss. Generally, eye drops are the initial treatment, though laser and surgical therapies are also used. Because the condition is generally asymptomatic in its early stages, regular eye exams are important, especially for anyone at increased risk.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.