Open Angle Glaucoma (also known as Chronic Glaucoma)
Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma where there is high eye pressure due to blockage of aqueous draining out of the eye at the trabecular meshwork. This type of glaucoma causes gradual painless loss of vision (see below) and the symptoms do NOT appear until late when more than half the optic nerve has suffered damage (unlike Narrow Angle Glaucoma where there are symptoms of eye pain and sudden blurring of vision). According to the WHO, it is the 2nd most common cause of blindness in the world (after cataract).
Click to view EyeSmartAAO video on Open Angle Glaucoma
Risk factors for Open Angle Glaucoma
- Older age (2% at age 40 years to 5-6% at age 60 years)
- Family history
- African or Asian heritage
- Long-sighted or having small eyeball
- Long term use of steroids medication
- Chronic eye inflammation (like uveitis in auto-immune disorders like spondyloarthritis
- Previous eye injury causing damage to aqueous fluid draining trabecular meshwork
Open angle glaucoma has NO early symptoms until much later when more than half of the optic nerve has suffered damage from the high pressure resulting in loss of peripheral vision. People with advance glaucoma will end up with tunnel vision and finally total darkness if left untreated
Diagnosis and Monitoring of Glaucoma
The diagnosis of glaucoma and monitoring of the effectiveness of treatment requires Glaucoma Eye Examination & Tests which measures your
- eye pressures
- drainage angle
- optic nerve damage
- visual field loss
Treatment of Open Angle Glaucoma
Treatment is required when there is evidence of optic nerve damage and/or visual field loss due to glaucoma caused by eye pressures being too high for your eye. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the treatment options most suitable for you.
It is important to undergo Glaucoma Eye Examination by your eye doctor regularly (between every 3-6 months) to monitor your eye pressures (if you are at risk) and/or glaucoma control (if you are on glaucoma treatment).
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