Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of your eye.

There are a few different types of glaucoma, each is slightly different. Most have no symptoms until your vision has deteriorated, therefore regular eye exams are essential to monitor your eyes. The earlier glaucoma is detected the easier it is to treat.

Primary glaucomas

Open-angle glaucoma

Open angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma in the UK. It is a slow-developing disease that damages the optic nerve. It's thought that it is caused by an increase in fluid in your eye that creates pressure and pushes on the optic nerve in the back of the eye. Over time, this pressure damages the optic nerve and impacts your vision which can, if not treated, lead to blindness.

Angle closure glaucoma

Angle closure glaucoma is also knows as acute glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma and is less common in the UK than open angle glaucoma. It is caused by blocked drainage canals which results in a sudden rise in intraocular pressure. It tends to develop much quicker than open angle glaucoma and requires immediate medical attention.

Other glaucomas

Normal-tension glaucoma: In this type of glaucoma, the optic nerve is damaged despite normal intraocular pressure levels. The exact cause of normal-tension glaucoma is not known.

Congenital glaucoma: This is a rare type of glaucoma that is present at birth. Congenital glaucoma is caused by an abnormality in the eye's drainage system, and it may be treated with surgery.

Secondary glaucoma: This type of glaucoma is caused by an underlying medical condition or medication. For example, secondary glaucoma may develop as a complication of diabetes or after long-term use of steroid medications.

Pigmentary glaucoma: In this type of glaucoma, pigment granules from the iris clog the eye's drainage system, leading to increased intraocular pressure.

Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma: This type of glaucoma occurs when abnormal protein fibers build up in the eye, leading to blockages in the drainage system and increased intraocular pressure. Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma is more common in people over 60 years of age.

Traumatic glaucoma: This type of glaucoma is caused by an injury to the eye. Traumatic glaucoma may occur immediately after an injury or years later as a result of scar tissue formation.

open angle glaucoma