If I have glaucoma in one eye will it spread to the other eye?

Primary open angle glaucoma generally affects both eyes, but does not always develop at the same time.

One eye may have moderate or advanced glaucomatous damage, while the other eye has very little or none. This variation in the extent of the damage can cause confusion, and the mistaken perception that only one eye is involved.

In time, most patients will develop glaucoma in both eyes. Acute angle-closure glaucoma may also initially occur in only one eye, but there is a 40 to 80% chance that the other eye will develop angle closure over a 5 to 10 year period. For this reason, your doctor may decide to treat the unaffected eye to prevent an angle closure attack.

Some types of glaucoma such as secondary glaucoma caused by injury to the eye, usually affect one eye. Secondary glaucomas such as Fuch’s syndrome, pseudoexfoliation syndrome and iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome occur in only one eye a majority of the time, but can be bilateral.

Last reviewed on April 19, 2011

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