What's the Difference Between Angle-Closure and Open-Angle Glaucoma? By Monterey County Eye Associates on June 30, 2024

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Left untreated, the increased eye pressure from glaucoma can cause blindness. While many people with the condition experience open-angle glaucoma, it’s also possible to experience angle-closure glaucoma. These two types of glaucoma are extremely different. Thankfully, our eye care professionals in Monterey, Salinas, and King City, CA, are well-equipped to treat both.

The team at Monterey County Eye Associates would like to go over the key differences between angle-closure and open-angle glaucoma. We’ll also note what treatments are available for each type of glaucoma.

What Is Open-Angle Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It happens when the drainage systems in the eye do not function properly, resulting in a gradual increase in eye pressure. As the eye pressure increases, it causes damage to the optic nerve.

Symptoms of Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma symptoms are difficult to detect in its earliest stages. As open-angle glaucoma, it can cause blindspots in a person’s peripheral vision; again, this can be difficult to notice. In later stages of open-angle glaucoma, people will start to notice problems with their central vision.

Treatments for Open-Angle Glaucoma

Treating open-angle glaucoma will usually involve the use of eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure and oral medications that similarly affect eye pressure. When necessary, surgery can also be performed on the affected eye or eyes to help relieve pressure.

What Is Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

Also known as closed-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma occurs when an enlarged iris prevents proper drainage of fluid from the eye.

This form of glaucoma can occur quite suddenly (acute angle-closure glaucoma) and must be treated as soon as possible or result in rapid and permanent vision loss.

Symptoms of Angle-Closure Glaucoma

The symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma are usually much easier to detect than those of open-angle glaucoma. The most common warning signs of acute angle-closure glaucoma include:

  • Serious headaches
  • Severe pain in the eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatments for Angle-Closure Glaucoma

If a person has acute angle-closure glaucoma, treatment will involve medication that rapidly reduces eye pressure and/or emergency surgery on the eyes. Eye surgery tends to be recommended for non-acute forms of angle-closure glaucoma as well.

See Your Eye Doctor for Regular Glaucoma Screenings

Regular testing and screening for glaucoma is a good way to catch most forms of the condition early and avoid major vision loss in the future. We encourage you to visit our offices for regular vision appointments.

In addition to testing for glaucoma, we can also check your prescription and note any other points of concern when it comes to your vision. We’ll be sure to recommend lifestyle changes in addition to professional care to help with prevention and proactive health.

Contact Our Eye Care Specialists Today

Whether you need help managing your glaucoma, would like to get tested for glaucoma, or simply need to speak with an eye doctor, you can count on the team at Monterey County Eye Associates. To set up an appointment or get answers to your questions, contact our offices in Monterey, Salinas, and King City, CA.

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Leland H. Rosenblum, MD - MBEC
Eric J. Del Piero, MD

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment, please call us at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Ryan Ranch, Salinas, and King City, or contact us online.

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