Not All Glaucoma Is the Same

Because not all glaucoma is the same, it’s important to know what type you have so it can be treated effectively. We provide simple definitions of each type below, but the specialists at Vance Thompson Vision can provide you more detailed education and guide you through the treatment process for your specific type.

As you may already know, glaucoma happens when the pressure inside your eye is too high. What you may not know is that there’s a drainage angle responsible for clearing excess fluid from your eye, which in turn keeps the intraocular pressure at a healthy level. When that drainage angle doesn’t work properly, the pressure rises and glaucoma can result. Here’s each type of glaucoma and what’s happening with the drainage angle in it.


This is the most common type of glaucoma. The drainage angle (where the fluids in the eye drain) is open but isn’t clearing fluids efficiently. That leads to increased fluid in the eye and results in higher pressure and a gradual loss of side-vision. Think of it like an air filter that, over time, gathers so much dust it becomes too clogged to work properly.


Angle-closure glaucoma happens when the drainage angle is completely blocked, often by the iris. This prevents any fluids from draining from the eye and causes the pressure to rise suddenly. This extreme spike in pressure results in blurred vision, headaches, severe eye pain, and the appearance of halos around lights.

Chronic angle-closure

This type of glaucoma is painless and involves a more gradual closing of the drainage angle. Chronic angle-closure glaucoma occurs most frequently in people of Asian descent.


Secondary glaucoma progresses very much like chronic open-angle glaucoma, occurring when scar tissue or pigment blocks the drainage angle. The first symptom is a loss of side vision. Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma and pigment dispersion glaucoma are examples of secondary glaucoma.


Congenital glaucoma is a rare birth defect affecting the drainage angle. To prevent blindness, this condition must be treated shortly after birth. Symptoms include enlarged eyes, a cloudy cornea, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing.

Dedicated to a Cure

Patients are often nervous about a glaucoma diagnosis; however, many find that glaucoma does not have to limit your lifestyle, and for the most part, you should be able to continue with your regular habits and activities.

Take comfort in knowing that our doctors are highly involved in glaucoma research initiatives. The eye care community, including the Glaucoma Research Foundation, puts a lot of effort into finding better methods to treat this disease. Someday there may even be a cure.

Until then, the Vance Thompson Vision team is dedicated to using the world’s most advanced technology in combination with our vast experience to help you manage your glaucoma. To set up an appointment or ask questions, please contact us today.