Open angle glaucoma

As in all forms of glaucoma, the end-organ damage is the optic nerve head. A sufficiently elevated IOP will damage the optic nerve, which is the structure that connects what the eyes see to the brain.

The “angle” is the part of the eye where the iris meets the cornea and the sclera. The drainage system of the eye is located at this region – trabecular meshwork, which consists of multiple layers of collagenous connective tissue. The trabecular beams form a net like structure that creates layers with large and small spaces within the beams.

The open angle glaucoma, as the term suggests, is characterized by an open angle. Nothing obstructs the flow of the aqueous humor to get to the trabecular meshwork, however, abnormalities within the spaces of the trabecular meshwork system lead to increase of the resistance to flow of fluid. The fluid pressure within the eye (IOP) gets elevated, and usually without any symptoms, gradually damages the optic nerve.

Vid. 1.

Open angle glaucoma Fig. 1

Fig. 1. Normal aqueous outflow. The region where the iris meets the cornea is named “Angle” (location of the drainage system of the eye).

Open angle glaucoma Fig. 2

Fig. 2. Real human photo of the Angle wall - location of the trabecular meshwork.

Open angle glaucoma Fig. 3

Fig. 3. Drainage system of the eye: blue arrows showing normal aqueous outflow, red arrows showing impaired outflow due to trabecular meshwork impairment.

World Glaucoma Association

Important message for glaucoma patients

It is important for you to get yourself regularly screened for glaucoma. If you have been diagnosed to have glaucoma, effective treatment options are now available and regular treatment and follow up can help you to preserve your vision for your lifetime, avoiding unnecessary fear of going blind.

You can live happily with glaucoma and enjoy an excellent quality of life, particularly if the disease is detected early and treated in time. Always remember that once you have glaucoma, you will have to be under the care of an eye doctor for the rest of your life.

There is a lot of research going on and new treatments may become available for glaucoma in the near future.

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