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Search Health Information    Types of glaucoma

Types of glaucoma

By Dennis Thompson

(HealthDay News) -- Most people with glaucoma have the type that sneaks up on them, stealing vision very gradually, with no noticeable symptoms.

Called open-angle glaucoma, it's one of five types of the disease. All can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss and, possibly, blindness. According to the U.S. National Eye Institute, the types of glaucoma are:

  • Open-angle glaucoma. Normally, fluid flows in and out of a chamber in the front of the eye, between the iris and the lens. But if the canals become clogged, fluid can build up over time and cause pressure inside the eye to do the same, damaging the optic nerve. This is by far the most common type.
  • Low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma. Narrowed vision occurs even without unusually high pressure. Symptoms appear much more quickly. Sometimes low blood pressure can contribute to this type of glaucoma.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma. This type is characterized by a sudden increase in eye pressure, usually accompanied by severe pain, nausea, redness of the eye and blurred vision. It's considered a medical emergency as vision loss can occur very quickly if the condition is not treated.
  • Congenital glaucoma. Some children are born with an eye defect that prevents fluid from draining normally. They often have cloudy eyes, sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Surgery often can resolve the blockage and ensure good vision for the child.
  • Secondary glaucoma. Sometimes glaucoma develops as a complication of other conditions, including eye injury, advanced cataracts, eye tumors, eye inflammation and diabetes. Some medications and eye surgeries also can lead to secondary glaucoma.

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