Acute angle closure glaucoma - can make you blind

Glaucoma is a familiar name among eye diseases. So lets discuss about a typical type of glaucoma in this edition.

Dramatic Symptoms of this disease

  • Severe eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision and/or seeing haloes around lights (Haloes and blurred vision occur because the cornea is swollen.)
  • Profuse tearing

In acute attacks of angle-closure glaucoma, it is common for only one eye to be involved and for symptoms to worsen.

Some people may experience intermittent episodes of angle closure and elevated IOP without ever having a full-blown attack of angle-closure glaucoma. This is called subacute angle-closure glaucoma.

People with subacute angle-closure glaucoma may have no symptoms, or they may experience mild pain, have slightly blurred vision, or see haloes around lights. These symptoms resolve spontaneously as the angle reopens.

Treatments you can go for

  • 71f61b45-f305-2ff3-68b55fc30025f03dGlaucoma treatment (laser): A laser beam of light is focused on the part of the anterior chamber where the fluid leaves the eye. This results in a series of small changes, which makes it easier for fluid to exit the eye. Over time, the effect of laser surgery may wear off. Patients who have this form of surgery may need to keep taking glaucoma drugs.
  • Prior to surgery, your ophthalmologist uses medicines to reduce the pressure inside the eye and to clear up the cloudiness of the cornea that occur during an acute attack of angle-closure glaucoma.
  • In acute angle-closure glaucoma, several drugs are used simultaneously to accelerate and maximize their pressure-lowering effects. The drugs lower IOP by increasing the outflow of the fluid (aqueous humor) from the eye or by decreasing the production of fluid in the eye.
  • Surgeries are available like Laser iridotomy or Laser gonioplasty.

Why you are having this?

Angle closure may occur 2 ways:

  • The iris may be pushed forward up against the trabecular meshwork.
  • The iris may be pulled up against the trabecular meshwork.

In either case, the position of the iris causes the normally open anterior chamber angle to close. Aqueous humor that should normally drain out of the anterior chamber is trapped inside the eye, thereby increasing the IOP.

If the ensuing rise in pressure is sudden, pain, blurred vision, and nausea may occur. Optic nerve damage may also occur due to the increased IOP, either in a sudden attack or in intermittent episodes over a long period of time.

What really happens in acute angle glaucoma?

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a rapid or sudden increase in pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP).

In angle-closure glaucoma, the iris (the colored part of the eye) is pushed or pulled up against the trabecular meshwork (or drainage channels) at the angle of the anterior chamber of the eye. When the iris is pushed or pulled up against the trabecular meshwork, the fluid (called aqueous humor) that normally flows out of the eye is blocked and cannot drain out, thereby increasing the IOP.

If the angle closes suddenly, symptoms are severe and dramatic. Immediate treatment is essential to prevent optic nerve damage and vision loss.

As people age, the lens of the eye enlarges and pushes the iris forward, thus increasing the risk for angle-closure glaucoma.

Who generally suffer from this?

eyedrops_2035_18891500_0_0_7021006_300People who are farsighted (called hyperopia) are at an increased risk for acute angle-closure glaucoma because their anterior chambers are shallow and their angles are narrow.

In the United States, fewer than 10% of glaucoma cases are due to angle-closure glaucoma. In Asia, angle-closure glaucoma is more common than open-angle glaucoma.

Certain races (eg, Asians, Eskimos) have narrow angles and, thus, are more likely to develop angle-closure glaucoma than whites. Angle-closure glaucoma among American Indians is lower than among whites.

In whites, angle-closure glaucoma is 3 times higher in women than in men. In blacks, men and women are affected equally.

This has been a dangerous disease from which people often suffer. But to avoid the severity of the disease, you should not neglect it and take up some medication. In most of the cases it has been found that eye drops succeeds to reduce the pressure inside the eye, while in severe cases surgery is the last option.


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