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Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary GlaucomaSecondary glaucoma is any form of glaucoma in which a rise in intraocular pressure is due to a discernable cause. Often, the cause of secondary glaucoma is treated simultaneously with the rise in intraocular pressure.

Causes of Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary glaucoma can be either open angle (sometimes referred to as "chronic" glaucoma) or closed angle (sometimes referred to as narrow angle or "acute" glaucoma).

Secondary Open Angle Glaucoma can be caused by:

  • Eye injury (Both blunt and penetrating)
  • Shed particles from the lens or iris that clog the angle
  • Abnormal growth of cornea tissue
  • Growth of blood vessels on the iris (often an effect of diabetes)
  • Medications

Secondary Angle Closure Glaucoma can be caused by

  • Eye injury (both blunt and penetrating)
  • Occulotumors
  • Infection or inflammation of the eye (uveitis)
  • Advanced cataracts
  • Medications

Risk Factors for Secondary Glaucoma

You may be at an increased risk for some forms of secondary glaucoma if you:

  • Have suffered multiple eye injuries, even if these injuries have healed
  • Are nearsighted
  • Have had prior eye surgery
  • Have diabetes

Additional risk factors for secondary glaucoma include:

  • Age: Severity of cataracts increases with age
  • Race: Persons of Scandinavian descent are more likely to see secondary glaucoma that results from particles shed from the lens
  • Sex: Light-skinned women are more likely to see glaucoma that results from abnormal corneal growth

Symptoms & Diagnosis of Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary angle closure glaucoma has the same symptoms as angle closure glaucoma--including eye pain, halos, and nausea--and should be treated as a medical emergency if symptoms are identified.

Secondary open angle glaucoma often has no discernible symptoms until vision loss begins. If you have any of the risk factors for secondary open angle glaucoma, be sure to have regular vision exams that include glaucoma testing.

Secondary Glaucoma treatment

Secondary glaucoma treatment varies depending on whether the glaucoma is open angle or angle closure. Because secondary open angle glaucomas are sometimes temporary, treatments are often oriented at controlling the intraocular pressure with eye drops first to allow the clearing of the angle. If necessary, surgical intervention may be used to increase the rate of drainage and reduce intraocular pressure.

Monitoring Secondary Glaucoma

If you have eye conditions that may lead to secondary glaucoma, it is important that you have regular vision exams that include glaucoma screening. Find a local ophthalmologist who can help protect your vision.

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