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What Is the Difference Between Open-Angle and Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

What Is the Difference Between Open-Angle and Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disorder characterized byan increase of pressure in the eyes. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, causing vision loss and in some cases total blindness. Patients who have a family history of glaucoma are at an elevated risk for glaucoma.

Although several types of glaucoma exist, most cases fit into two categories: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. The team at Laser Eye Center of Miami explains the differences between these categories of glaucoma.

Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma. In this type of glaucoma, pressure slowly mounts in the eye, usually due to an overproduction of fluid or improper drainage of fluids. Symptoms like a loss of peripheral vision arise so slowly that most people affected with open-angle glaucoma either do not recognize that they have it or attribute the problems to a separate vision issue. By the time symptoms are more obvious, significant vision loss may have occurred. That is why annual comprehensive eye exams are so important, particularly for patients over 40, so glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before significant damage occurs.

Angle Closure Glaucoma

This type of glaucoma is the result of a physical closing of the drainage angle of the eye. Specifically, the iris (the colored part of the eye) obstructs the aqueous humor. When the drainage is blocked, the pressure in the eye builds fast, in turn putting pressure on the optic nerve. Symptoms appear rapidly, and it is important for people who notice these symptoms to seek prompt treatment because permanent vision loss occurs at a similarly rapid speed.

Treating Glaucoma

With any type of glaucoma, diagnosis and treatment are critical to protect vision in the long-term. Dr. Abraham Awad and the team at Laser Eye Center of Miami offer a variety of glaucoma treatments to address the needs of each patient. Options include medicated eye drops, laser treatments like selecta trabeculoplasty and various types of surgery like trabeculectomy or tube implantation. The goal of every treatment is to relieve the pressure in a patient’s eyes and limit the damage inflicted on the optic nerve.

Laser Eye Center of Miami is one of a handful of places in southern Florida to offer optical coherence tomography, which allows our team to take the most accurate measurements. If you have glaucoma and need prompt treatment, please schedule an appointment online or call our office directly at (305) 443-4733.