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Angle Recession Glaucoma

Angle Recession Glaucoma Overview

Glaucoma is an abnormally elevated pressure within the ball (orbit) of the eye. Angle recession glaucoma is a type of glaucoma that can develop following trauma to the eye.

Glaucoma is a potentially blinding condition in which the optic nerve (which transmits visual information from the eye to the brain) can become damaged, especially when the pressure within the eye is too high.

The force of a traumatic blow to the eye may tear the tissue in the eye's ”angle” causing blockage of the natural drainage of fluid from the eye. This injury is called angle recession. Angle recession can lead to chronically elevated eye pressure that results in damage to the optic nerve.

  • The “angle” of the eye is the area where the peripheral iris (the colored ring shaped muscle in the eye) meets the inner wall of the eye (the sclera). Within the angle is a ring shaped sieve-like structure called the trabecular meshwork.
  • A clear liquid (aqueous humor) is constantly being produced within the eye. It circulates within the eye and then drains into the eye's veins, passing through the channels in the trabecular meshwork on its way out.
  • This fluid flow brings vital nutrients to the inner eye as well as carries away waste products. However, if there is obstruction to the outflow of the fluid, pressure builds up in the eye.
  • Following angle recession trauma, the outflow of fluid is impeded both acutely due to blood and inflammatory cells clogging the trabecular meshwork, as well as chronically due to direct damage to the trabecular meshwork.
  • Over time, the chronically elevated eye pressure can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve and vision loss if not treated.

The onset of glaucomatous optic nerve damage can be delayed months or even years after the initial angle recession injury. Sometimes, patients who have long forgotten about a long-ago injury are found to have angle recession and glaucomatous damage during a routine eye examination.

The risk of developing angle recession glaucoma is related to the health of the optic nerve before and after the injury.

  • If the nerve was already partially damaged by another form of glaucoma (such as pseudoexfoliative glaucoma), the angle recession injury may accelerate optic nerve damage.
  • The optic nerve may also be more vulnerable to pressure-related damage in those with diabetes and in chronic smokers.
  • Additional risk factors for glaucoma include a thin cornea (which can be measured by the eye doctor), increased age, and family history of glaucoma.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Glaucoma, Angle Recession »

Traumatic glaucoma refers to a heterogeneous group of posttraumatic ocular disorders with different underlying mechanisms that lead to the common pathway of abnormal elevation of intraocular pressure (IOP) and increased risk of optic neuropathy.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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