Narrow-Angle Glaucoma (Angle Closure Glaucoma)
Narrow-angle glaucoma is less common and is very different than open-angle glaucoma. There are two main types of narrow angle glaucoma: acute and chronic. In acute narrow angle glaucoma, the eye pressure suddenly increases to dangerously high levels. This happens when the drainage canal is suddenly blocked. There are many potential causes which result in blocking the drainage canal, including structural changes in the eye, scar tissue, and blood vessels.
The drainage canals get blocked or covered over
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Symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma:
The onset of acute narrow-angle or angle closure glaucoma is typically rapid, constituting an emergency. If not treated promptly, this glaucoma produces blindness in the affected eye in three to five days. Symptoms may include:
Inflammation and pain
Pressure over the eye
Moderate pupil dilation that's non-reactive to light
Blurring and decreased visual acuity
Extreme sensitivity to light
Seeing halos around lights
Nausea and/or vomiting
Causes of narrow-angle glaucoma:
Defect in the eye structure
Anything that causes the pupil to dilate -- dim lighting, dilation drops
Certain oral or injected medications
Blow to the eye
Diabetes-related growth of abnormal blood vessels over the angle
Diagnosing narrow-angle glaucoma:
Everyone should be checked for glaucoma at around age 35 and again at age 40. Those considered to be at higher risk for narrow-angle glaucoma, including those who are Asian, farsighted or over the age of 60, should have their pressure checked every year or two.
Because of the rapid, potentially devastating results of narrow-angle glaucoma, you should seek medical treatment immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Treatment for narrow-angle glaucoma:
Laser iridotomy is a common treatment for narrow-angle glaucoma. During this procedure, a laser is used to create a small hole in the iris, restoring the flow of fluid to the front of the eye. In most patients, the iridotomy is placed in the upper portion of the iris, under the upper eyelid, where it cannot be seen.
Filtration surgery is performed when medicines and/or laser surgery are unsuccessful in controlling eye pressure. During this microscopic procedure, a new drainage channel is created to allow fluid to drain from the eye.
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