SCEI Logo Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital Logo (CHA)

Normally, fluids drain from your eyes through tiny canals. If these canals become clogged or blocked, fluid drains too slowly and inner-eye pressure goes up. The pressure damages the optic nerve and causes vision loss or blindness. This can occur in one or both eyes.

The word “glaucoma” is used to describe the different eye problems that drive up inner eye pressure and cause damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma screening allows specialists to catch the disease early and treat it, so vision can be saved.

Glaucoma experts can reopen the canals with medications or glaucoma surgery to stop the pressure from destroying your optic nerve. Unfortunately, the damage already done to the optic nerve and vision loss can’t be restored.

Knowing more about glaucoma can help you protect your own vision, and the vision of people you know and love.

Types of Glaucoma

To make it easier to understand the different types of glaucoma and their causes, we describe how they affect your eye drainage canals in the chart below.

Glaucoma at a Glance: Types and Causes

Type of Glaucoma Problem that Affects the Eye-Fluid Drainage Canals
Open-Angle Glaucoma Clogged by tiny particles in eye fluid
Narrow-Angle Glaucoma Covered over by improper angle between iris and cornea
Angle-Closure Glaucoma Blocked by closed angle between iris and cornea
Neovascular Glaucoma Blocked by growth of new blood vessels
Uveitic Glaucoma Not working properly from inflammation
Glaucoma Eye Trauma Not working properly from eye injury
Congenital and Childhood Glaucoma Drainage system is formed or grows improperly
Pigmentary Glaucoma Clogged by pigment cells that break off
Juvenile Onset Glaucoma Clogged by early development of open-angle glaucoma
Pseudoexfoliation Syndrome Clogged by material shed inside the eye
Glaucoma Secondary to Steroid Use Not working properly from drug side effects
Glaucoma Secondary to Retinal Disease Not working properly from retinal disease effects

Glaucoma, in all its forms, should be taken very seriously because it can lead to blindness. The best way to determine if you may have glaucoma and which type you have is to see a glaucoma specialist.

In our next blog, we take a closer look at open-angle glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma, and angle-closure glaucoma, the most common types.

The goal of this series of weekly blogs is to help you feel informed and confident, wherever you are in learning about glaucoma.

Visit weekly to learn more.

Please provide feedback, suggested topics, or questions about glaucoma in the Contact Us section below. Thank you.