Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Glaucoma represents a group of eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease and one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Angle-closure glaucoma is a condition in which the iris in the eye shifts and blocks the exit passageway of the fluid in the front compartment of the eye. This fluid blockage causes a rapid build-up of pressure in the eye. Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical treatment to preserve vision.

  • Causes

    The exact cause of open-angle glaucoma is unknown. However, factors that play a role in causing the disease include:


    • Narrowing of the drainage angle in the eye—Aging and being
      farsighted
      are two causes of this narrowing.
    • Being born with narrow angles
    • Injury to the eye

    Sometimes certain medications can cause sudden angle-closure glaucoma.

    These include:

    • Adrenergics
    • Anticholinergics
    • Botulism injections around the eye
    • Sulfa-based drugs
    • Phenothiazines and monoamine oxidase inhibitors
    • Medications to treat Parkinson's disease

  • Definition

    Glaucoma
    represents a group of eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease and one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.

    Angle-closure glaucoma is a condition in which the iris in the eye shifts and blocks the exit passageway of

    the fluid

    in the front compartment of the eye. This fluid blockage causes a rapid build-up of pressure in the eye.

    Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical treatment to preserve vision.

    Glaucoma
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Tests may include:

    • Eye exam
    • Tonometry
      —a test to determine intraocular pressure
    • Slit lamp examination—the use of a low-power microscope combined with a high-intensity light source, allows a narrow beam that can be focused to examine the front of the eye
    • Gonioscopy—to examine the outflow channels of the angle

  • Prevention

    Angle-closure glaucoma can't be prevented. Regular eye exams are important to screen for eye conditions such as glaucoma.

  • Risk Factors

    Angle-closure glaucoma is more common in older aging adults and in Asian people. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing angle-closure glaucoma include:

    • Family history of narrow angle glaucoma
    • Injury to the eye
    • Eye drops used to dilate the eyes
    • Certain systemic medications

  • Symptoms

    Patients with narrow angles experience few or no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an acute angle-closure attack. Symptoms may include:

    • Severe pain in the eye
    • Pupil not reacting to light
    • Blurred or cloudy vision
    • Sudden vision loss
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Redness and swelling of the eye
    • Headache

  • Treatment

    Angle-closure glaucoma requires emergency medical treatment to preserve vision. See an ophthalmologist immediately if you have any signs or symptoms of an angle-closure glaucoma attack. Treatment options include:

    • Medications—Eye drops, pills, and sometimes even intravenous drugs are often administered to reduce intraocular pressure.
    • Surgery—Surgery may be used to stop or prevent an attack of angle-closure glaucoma. This is usually done by laser.