What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. It is a condition of the eye that damages the optic nerve, resulting in progressive, irreversible vision loss. The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that transmits visual signals from the eye to the brain. In people with glaucoma, the normal fluid pressure inside the eye rises, damaging the optic nerve.

Types of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is divided into two primary categories – open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma. The type of glaucoma that you are diagnosed with depends on the shape of the drainage angle in your eye. The drainage angle is an area between the iris and the cornea that allows fluid to freely flow out of the eye.

  • Open Angle Glaucoma. This is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for 90% of all cases. This type of glaucoma happens when the drainage angle remains open but the eye's fluids fail to drain properly, resulting in increased eye pressure.
  • Angle Closure Glaucoma. This type of glaucoma happens when the iris protrudes into the drainage angle, which blocks the eye's fluid from draining effectively.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age. Other risk factors include:

  • Family History of Glaucoma
  • High Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Certain Eye or Medical Conditions (diabetes, prior eye injury or trauma, anterior chamber shallowing, etc.)
  • High Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
  • Corticosteroid Use


Glaucoma cannot be cured, but treatment can slow or prevent further vision loss. Treatment options include prescription eye drops, laser or traditional surgery, or a combination of therapies. Surgery may be used to improve the eye’s ability to drain fluid and reduce the risk of vision loss.