Lens-Particle Glaucoma Quick Overview
What Is Lens-Particle Glaucoma?
The pressure with the eye can rise if the fluid flow within the eye is interrupted. A clear fluid called aqueous is continuously being produced within the eye, providing nutrients and carrying away waste. This fluid flows around the lens and out through drainage channels called the 'trabecular meshwork.' Lens-particle glaucoma occurs when bits of lens material are released into the aqueous (following surgery or trauma, as described below) and become trapped within the trabecular meshwork. The accumulation of this material in the meshwork results in blockage of the normal outflow of aqueous fluid. The eye pressure becomes elevated, putting the optic nerve at risk for glaucoma damage.
What Causes Lens-Particle Glaucoma?
The lens of the eye is made up of proteins and other material confined within an outer capsule. If the capsule is torn following a trauma, the material within the lens can escape into the aqueous fluid.
Loose lens material can also be present following a cataract surgery. The lenses gradually become cloudy with age to cause cataracts. When a cataract is interfering with vision, an ophthalmologist can improve vision by surgically removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with a clear lens implant. In some instances, the surgeon may not be able to remove all of the lens material and small bits remain behind following surgery. Retained lens particles can also be released into the aqueous after YAG capsulotomy, a laser procedure often performed months after cataract surgery.
Whether by trauma or surgery, when the lens particles are loose in the eye, two things can occur. First, the lens particles may clog the trabecular meshwork. Second, cells called macrophages enter the eye to clear out the lens debris and the cells themselves can clog the trabecular meshwork to cause glaucoma.
If the combined lens particles and macrophages produce only a minor and temporary blockage of the trabecular meshwork, the eye pressure rise might be insignificant. However, if there is more extensive or prolonged blockage, eye pressures might rise to a level that puts the optic nerve at high risk from damage from glaucoma. Lens-particle glaucoma is distinct from other lens-induced or lens-related glaucomas such as pupillary block, phacomorphic glaucoma, and phacolytic glaucoma.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/24/2016
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