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Symptoms and Signs of What Is Angle Recession Glaucoma?

Doctor's Notes on What Is Angle Recession Glaucoma?

Angle recession glaucoma (also called angle-cleavage glaucoma) is a type of glaucoma that can develop after eye trauma. Signs and symptoms begin immediately after injury;

  • aching eye pain,
  • light sensitivity and
  • blurred vision.

Eye pressure can be high and blood and inflammatory cells can result in hyphemia and the eye’s trabecular meshwork (drains aqueous humor from the eye) may be temporarily blocked. Eye pressure can remain high if drainage is compromised and damage the optic nerve, even when the pain and inflammation subside, can continue. Vision loss then can gradually become worse.

Any blow to the eye may cause angle recession glaucoma. Such traumatic injuries can come from various sources; for example, fists, stones, balls, champagne corks, airbag deployment and many others.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 5/25/2020

What Is Angle Recession Glaucoma? Symptoms

Immediately following the injury, there will likely be aching pain in the eye, light sensitivity, and blurred vision. The eye pressure may be very high in the initial phase when the trabecular meshwork is temporarily clogged with blood and inflammatory cells. The injury may be associated with blood in the angle and in the space between the cornea and iris (hyphema).

Once the blood and inflammation resolve, the pain subsides but the eye pressure may remain chronically elevated at a level that is painless yet still harmful to the optic nerve. The patient may not have any specific eye or visual complaints until the vision loss has progressed to an advanced stage.

Immediately following ocular injuries, a thorough examination by an ophthalmologist must be performed. In addition to looking for signs of angle recession, the ophthalmologist will look for other damage to the eye (for example, traumatic iritis, corneal abrasions, lacerations, retinal tears, and detachments, etc.). Initial medical care will depend on the extent of the injuries.

If an angle recession injury is found, repeat eye exams will be needed to screen for the development of glaucoma over time.

What Is Angle Recession Glaucoma? Causes

Any direct blow to the eye can result in post-traumatic angle recession glaucoma. Often, the trauma is a result of high-speed or fast-moving blunt objects or projectiles, such as

  • fists;
  • stones (for example while trimming lawns with a weed whacker);
  • balls (for example, paintball, racquetball);
  • champagne corks;
  • bungee cords; and
  • air bags.

Common Eye Problems and Infections Slideshow

Common Eye Problems and Infections Slideshow

When it comes to signs of eye disease, Americans are blind to the facts. A recent survey showed that while nearly half (47%) of Americans worry more about going blind than losing their memory or their ability to walk or hear, almost 30% of those surveyed admitted to not getting their eyes checked.

The following slides take a look at some of the signs and symptoms of some of the most common eye diseases.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.