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Who Is Affected by Glaucoma

Glaucoma of all types is one of the most common causes of legal blindness in the United States.1

Open-angle glaucoma (OAG)

The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma.

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  • OAG is more common in older people. The risk of glaucoma increases rapidly after a person reaches age 40.
  • OAG is more common among African Americans than in non-Hispanic whites.

Closed-angle glaucoma (CAG)

It is estimated that closed-angle glaucoma accounts for about 10% of all glaucoma cases in the United States.2

  • CAG is more common in farsighted people and in women. It is least common in whites.
  • Acute closed-angle glaucoma is uncommon in African Americans.
  • CAG is less common among Native Americans than whites, but it is more common among Canadian, Alaskan, and Greenland Inuit peoples and among people from East Asia or with East Asian ancestry.

Congenital glaucoma

Congenital glaucoma is rare.


  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology (2005). Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, Limited Revision (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Also available online:

  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology (2005). Primary Angle Closure (Preferred Practice Pattern). San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Also available online:

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky - Ophthalmology
Last Revised May 5, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 05, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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