Doctor's Notes on Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye rises to an abnormally high level. Angle-closure glaucoma or closed-angle glaucoma is a less common form of glaucoma in the U.S. but is very common in Asia. In angle-closure glaucoma, a portion of the entire drainage angle for the fluid within the eye becomes anatomically closed, and the pressure inside the eye increases. In acute angle-closure glaucoma, the intraocular pressure can rise very suddenly (acutely). Small eyes, Asian descent, and farsightedness are all factors related to the cause of acute angle-closure glaucoma.
Signs and symptoms associated with an attack of acute angle-closure glaucoma include
Another associated symptom is seeing haloes around lights.
What Is the Treatment for Angle-Closure Glaucoma?
Immediate treatment for angle-closure glaucoma involves measures to reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure within the eye. This can be done with eyedrops that constrict the pupils or medications that reduce the amount of fluid in the eye. Laser surgical procedures are sometimes used after the immediate reduction in pressure to help the fluid within the eye start flowing. Often, both eyes are treated even if only one eye produces symptoms.
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GlaucomaGlaucoma can be caused by a number of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve, typically by elevating pressure inside the eye, which is called intraocular pressure (IOP) or ocular hypertension. Symptoms begin slowly and include vision loss and irregularities, eye pain, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Beta-blockers, Alpha-adrenergic agonists, and prostaglandin analogs are drugs used to treat glaucoma. Sometimes surgery is necessary, especially with congenital glaucoma. The disease is not curable but can be managed.
Glaucoma FAQsGlaucoma is usually high pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve and can result in permanent vision loss. While high pressure inside the eye, damage to the optic nerve and vision loss are common criteria for diagnosing glaucoma, glaucoma can be present without all three of these criteria. The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma may be symptomless until significant permanent vision damage has occured, but may show symptoms as well, including pain, redness, haloes, and blurred vision.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG)Glaucoma describes chronic high pressure within the eyeball. The pressure eventually causes nerve damage, though glaucoma can still occur without elevated pressure. Primary open-angle glaucoma is a subtype of the disease characterized by atrophy of the optic disc in the back oif the eye and other problems.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.