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Glaucoma is a well-known eye disease that damages the optic nerves and may eventually result in complete blindness in the worst cases. It affects a large number of people around the world and is the leading cause of eye blindness.

Under the term ‘glaucoma,’ open angle glaucoma is the most common type. It leads to an increase in pressure inside the eyes, which gradually does damage to the optic nerves. It is not possible to completely cure this eye condition, but it can be prevented from progressing. 

Since open angle glaucoma is an eye disease that may cost you your vision, it is important you get your eyes checked regularly. It will allow you to diagnose the disease as early as possible. This article will help you understand everything you need to know about this eye condition, including its symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.

Closed vs Open Angle Glaucoma

Before we get into the symptoms and treatment for open angle glaucoma, let us first understand the difference between open and closed angle glaucoma.

The part of our eyes between the cornea and the lens is made up of watery fluid called aqueous humor. This fluid is constantly being produced and drained out through:

  • the trabecular meshwork
  • the uveoscleral outflow

The primary difference between open and closed angle glaucoma depends on which of the two drainage paths is damaged.

In open angle glaucoma, the trabecular meshwork resists fluid outflow, and in the case of closed angle glaucoma, both trabecular meshwork and uveoscleral drain get blocked.

Symptoms of Open Angle Glaucoma

In the early stages, glaucoma does not show any symptoms. It gradually progresses and can cause damage to your vision before you know it. However, see an eye specialist if you experience any of these open angle glaucoma symptoms:

  • bulging or swollen cornea

  • reduced peripheral vision

  • eye redness

  • nausea

  • pupil dilation that doesn’t change with the brightness of the light

It is important to remember that absence of these symptoms does not mean that one cannot contract open angle glaucoma.

Risk Factors of Glaucoma

More than 80% of glaucoma cases are of open angle glaucoma. Risk factors for this eye condition include:

  • Family history of glaucoma

  • High IOP (intraocular pressure)

  • Tumor

  • Inflammation

  • Low blood pressure

  • Old age

  • Nearsightedness

Open Angle Glaucoma Diagnosis

If you have a high IOP, you may contract open angle glaucoma. But it is not a sure sign. If you want to determine whether you have open angle glaucoma, you must go through a comprehensive eye examination. Some of the eye test that your eye doctor will use are:

  • Visual Acuity Test:

    This test is performed using an eye chart to assess the ability of the eyes to focus and discern objects.

  • Visual Field Test:

    This test helps check peripheral vision.

  • Dilated Eye Exam:

    It is the most important eye examination to diagnose open angle glaucoma. Eye drops are given to dilate the pupils, which helps the eye specialist to look into the optic nerves and the retina. They make use of a special instrument called the ophthalmoscope. The whole process is painless.

  • Tonometry:

    In this test, the eye doctor applies numbing drops to the eyes and uses a certain instrument to measure the pressure near the cornea. This test is also quite painless except for the slight sting that you might feel when the eye drop is applied.

  • Pachymetry:

    After the application of numbing drops to your eyes, the doctor uses a machine that produces ultrasound waves. It helps them to measure the thickness of the cornea.

  • Gonioscopy:

    To Check whether angle of Anterior chamber is open or closed to determine type of glaucoma.

Open Angle Glaucoma Treatment

In order to treat open angle glaucoma, it is important to reduce the fluid pressure inside the eyes. Treatment usually starts with hypotensive eye drops.

After that, depending on the state of open angle glaucoma, the eye doctor may suggest taking the first line of drugs that help lower the pressure. These include prostaglandin analogs, which help improve the blood flow and drainage of aqueous humor.

However, this drug has a few side effects, including:

  • Bloodshot eyes

  • Darkening and elongation of eyelashes

  • Fat loss around the eyes

  • Darkening of areas around the eyes

Some of the drugs that may be used as a second line of defence against open angle glaucoma include:

  • Beta-blockers

  • Alpha agonists

  • Carbonic anhydrase

  • Inhibitors

  • Cholinergic agonists

Other Open Angle Glaucoma treatment techniques may include:

  • Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

    In this treatment procedure, the laser is aimed at the trabecular meshwork to help lower the pressure and improve drainage. This treatment has about an 80% success rate, and the effect lasts for 3-5 years. It may be repeated or may be replaced with eye drops as suggested by the eye specialist.

  • Trabeculectomy

    In simple terms, this treatment for open angle glaucoma creates a new drainage pathway for the aqueous humor.

Avail the Best Treatment Available

In case this eye condition runs in your family, you should have your eyes checked on a regular basis. Consult an eye doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed. Glaucoma is an eye disease that, in severe cases, can lead to complete blindness. As a result, it is critical to receive the best treatment possible. Explore our website to learn more about Glaucoma Treatment and other Eye Treatment.

We at Dr Agarwal Eye Hospital provide cutting-edge treatments for a wide range of eye conditions, including open angle glaucoma. Not only that, but we also offer world-class customer service. Learn more about us by exploring our website today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the biggest risk factor in open angle glaucoma?

A major risk factor of primary open angle glaucoma is age. As we humans get older, our drainage pathway of the eyes starts to function less efficiently, and the eye pressure keeps increasing.

People who have glaucoma may be able to drive safely during the early stages.

Open angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma and is a lifelong condition.

There is no cure available to completely stop open angle glaucoma, but if diagnosed early, vision loss may be prevented.

Open angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma that affect a large percentage of the population worldwide. Initially, the symptoms are not visible, and if left untreated, it may lead to loss of vision.

Generally, chronic forms of glaucoma, like primary open angle glaucoma, do not lead to headaches. However, acute forms when the eye pressure increases, can cause headaches.