SynopsisCodesDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsReferences
Normal tension glaucoma
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Normal tension glaucoma

Contributors: Deepak Sobti MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


A type of open-angle glaucoma (see also primary open-angle glaucoma) presenting within normal range for intraocular pressure (IOP). Etiology is uncertain, but theories point to vascular insufficiency and structural anomalies of the optic nerve, and the possibility of optic nerve sensitivity to seemingly normal intraocular pressure. A familial inherited predisposition has been identified, particularly in patients of Japanese descent. Risk factors include ischemic disease (diabetes, stroke) and vasospastic conditions (migraine headache, Raynaud phenomenon). Characterized by loss of retinal fiber or peripapillary atrophy around the optic rim, cupping of the optic nerve head, small Drance hemorrhages, and most notably, progressive visual field loss in the absence of increased IOP. Usually asymptomatic until reaching advanced stages; sometimes presents with early scotoma.

Patients with an optic neuropathy who have normal pressure require ongoing monitoring. Management includes the use of medications, laser trabeculoplasty, and surgery.


H40.1290 – Low-tension glaucoma, unspecified eye, stage unspecified

50485007 – Low tension glaucoma

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Optic nerve anomalies including coloboma, pits, oblique insertion
  • Autosomal dominant optic atrophy
  • Glaucoma associated with elevated (higher than normal) IOP (eg, past history of trauma or surgery that may have led to elevated IOP, wide diurnal fluctuation in IOP, and past history of steroid use)
  • Hemodynamic crisis
  • Methyl alcohol poisoning
  • Optic neuritis
  • Ischemic optic neuropathy (arteritic, nonarteritic)
  • Compressive lesions of optic nerve and tract
  • Traumatic optic neuropathy

Best Tests

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Last Updated:07/29/2020
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Normal tension glaucoma
A medical illustration showing key findings of Normal tension glaucoma : Vision loss, BP increased
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.