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Secondary Glaucoma

Secondary glaucoma is glaucoma that is caused by another condition or problem. There are many causes. These are some of the most common.


Pseudoexfoliation syndrome is flaking of the outer layer of the lens of the eye. The granular material which flakes off collects between the cornea and the iris blocking drainage of fluid out of the eye.

Pseudoexfoliative glaucoma is most common in people in their 70s and 80s and may be more prevalent in people of Scandinavian descent. It is treated with medication or surgery.


Pigment dispersion syndrome is flaking of granules of pigment from the iris into the fluid of the eye. These granules can collect in the drainage canals and the trabecular meshwork slowly blocking the flow of fluid from the eye.

Pigmentary glaucoma is most common in people who are nearsighted and often shows up in youth or middle-age. It is treated with medication or surgery.


Trauma to the eye can cause a temporary, but dangerous increase in pressure inside the eye, due to bleeding, swelling, and blocking of or damage to the drainage pathways.

Scarring and dislocation of the lens can cause permanent blockage which must be treated with surgery. Sports injuries are a common cause of eye trauma.


The formation of new, abnormal blood vessels on the iris of the eye can block the drainage of fluid causing neovascular glaucoma. This often occurs in diabetic retinopathy. When the original blood vessels become damaged, poor circulation of the eye stimulates the growth of new vessels.

Neovascular glaucoma is very difficult to treat, but can sometimes be treated with laser surgery or drainage implants.

Irido Corneal Endothelial Syndrome (ICE)

ICE typically affects just one eye. Cells from the cornea spread over the drainage canals and iris, and bind the iris to the cornea, blocking drainage. It is most common in fair-skinned women. ICE is treated with medication or surgery.

Steroid induced

Glaucoma has been linked to prolonged steroid use. The cause is not completely understood. It is normally associated with the use of topical steroids, but may also be caused by using other forms including oral, inhaled, and intravenous steroids.

Discontinuing use or lowering the dose of steroids will sometimes return normal pressure. In some cases medication or surgery is necessary.


Inflammation can cause the fluid in the eye to thicken, due to the production of white blood cells in the eye, it can cause the strands of the trabecular meshwork to swell, making it more difficult for fluid to get through, and it can stimulate the release of more fluid into the eye. Chronic inflammation can lead to glaucoma.

Inflammation of the eye is usually treated with steroidal or non-steroidal drops. Both have their benefits and risks to the eye.

If you have any of the conditions or problems which may lead to secondary glaucoma talk to your ophthalmologist and schedule and eye exam today.

Articles about other vision disorders : Types of Glaucoma, Acute Angle Glaucoma, Glaucoma Risk Factors, Diabetes and Glaucoma, Lasik and Glaucoma, What Everyone Should Know About Glaucoma, Diabetic Eye Disease, Dry Eye, Amblyopia, Macular Degeneration, Computer Vision Syndrome, Cataracts, Cancer of the Eye, Keratoconus, and Epithelial and Stromal Dystrophies.

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Disclaimer: The information on this website about glaucoma is for informational purposes only.
To determine your risk for glaucoma, please schedule an appointment with an experienced eye care professional.

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