Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and affects about 3 million Americans. Accounting for nearly 90% of all glaucoma cases, primary open-angle glaucoma is sometimes called the “silent thief of sight,” as it produces no symptoms until vision begins to diminish and it is too late to save it. This is one of the many reasons that men and women over the age of 60 and at risk of the disease should see their optometrist with greater regularity – at least once a year or more frequently, depending on circumstances.

If you have been diagnosed with primary open-angle glaucoma, the San Diego eye doctors at California Retina Associates can help. Please contact us online or by calling (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule your glaucoma treatment consultation right away.

Understanding Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

In a normal, healthy eye, there is a delicate balance between the fluid that is produced in the eye, and the fluid that leaves the eye. The eye has a natural drainage system that operates similarly to a sink; if there is a problem with the drainage system, or fluid is produced quicker than it can escape, an overflow occurs. This can cause the pressure inside the eye to rise and affect the vulnerable optic nerve, which carries information from the eye to the brain.

In primary open-angle glaucoma, the drainage canals that control the outflow of fluid are open, but they become clogged (kind of like a pipe beneath the drain of a sink). Because of the issue, the build-up of fluid causes the intraocular pressure to spike and potentially hurt the optic nerve.

Risk Factors for Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma

One of the largest risk factors for glaucoma is age. If you are over the age of 60, you are at an increased risk of developing this disease and many other vision stealing disorders (e.g., cataracts). Make sure you regularly visit your eye doctor, who can detect these issues early on and help protect your vision as you age. Our ophthalmologists use special tests and instruments to look at the structures inside your eye and measure your intraocular pressure; if we note anything problematic, we can immediately address it.

Additional risk factors for primary open-angle glaucoma include:

  • Family history of the disease
  • Ethnic background
  • Preexisting medical conditions
  • Certain drugs and medications
  • Other eye diseases and disorders
  • A history of eye injury
  • Tobacco use

While these factors can increase the likelihood of developing glaucoma, it is a good idea for men and women over the age of 40 to begin seeing their eye doctor with more regularity. Particularly for those of African, Asian, or South American descent, glaucoma may develop early on, making yearly eye exams a necessary part of preventive medical care.

Treating Open-Angle Glaucoma

Treatment for primary open-angle glaucoma cannot undo damage that has already occurred to the optic nerve. It can, however, prevent further damage and reduce risks for a complete loss of vision. We can treat glaucoma using medicated eye drops, laser surgery or traditional surgery.

Learn More about Open-Angle Glaucoma in San Diego

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of primary open-angle glaucoma, please call California Retina Associates at (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755 to schedule an examination with our team.