Open-angle glaucoma


  • An optic neuropathy characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure leading to damage to the optic nerve and irreversible vision loss.
  • Second leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide

Risk Factors

  • Age (4% prevalence in age >80)
  • Race (3 times higher in Black patients)
  • Family History (2-3 fold increase for individuals with affected sibling or parent)
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Other: Myopia, pseudoexfoliation, low diastolic perfusion pressure, cardiovascular disease, hypothyroidism


Not entirely clear, but may be related to an increased intraocular pressure that leads to compression of the optic nerve at the site where it exits the eye. This causes a progressive decrease in the number of retinal ganglion cells.

Clinical Features

Most commonly presents with progressive peripheral vision loss, followed by central vision loss

  • Painless
  • Cupping of the optic disc
  • Loss of peripheral visual field
  • Preservation of central vision

Differential Diagnosis

Acute Vision Loss (Noninflamed)

Emergent Diagnosis



Fundus examination

  • Cupping >50% of the vertical disc diameter
  • Thinning or notching of disc rim
  • Progressive change of size/shape of cup
Glaucoma cupping

Visual field testing

Intraocular pressure

  • Does not establish diagnosis of Open angle glaucoma. 1/2 of patients with OAG have normal intraocular pressure
  • Normal Intraocular pressure ranges from 10 to 20 mmHg
  • Pressure >21 mmhg considered ocular hypertension


At least one of the following:

  • Evidence of optic nerve damage from structural abnormalities (thinning, cupping, notching of disc rim)
  • Adult Onset
  • Open, normal appearing anterior chamber angles
  • Absence of known secondary causes of open-angle glaucoma


  • β-blockers: Timolol maleate 0.25%-0.5%, one drop BID
  • α-adrenergic agonist: Brimonidine 0.2% one drop BID
  • Carbonic Anhydrase inhibitors: Dorzolamide 2% one drop BID
  • Prostaglandins: Latanoprost 0.005% one drop qD
  • Persistent elevated intraocular pressures: Acetazolamide 125-250mg PO bid-QID


Indications for ophthalmologic referral:

  • IOP>40mmHg: emergency referral
  • IOP 30-40 mmHg: referral within 24hr if no symptoms suggesting acute glaucoma
  • IOP 25-29 mmHg: Evaluation within 1 week
  • IOP 23-24 mmHg: repeat measurement and referral for comprehensive eye examination

See Also

External Links