Glaucoma describes a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. This degenerative eye disease is one of the leading causes of chronic blindness in the United States.
Angle-closure glaucoma is a condition in which the iris in the eye shifts and blocks the exit passageway of the fluid in the front compartment of the eye. This fluid blockage causes a rapid build-up of pressure in the eye.
Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency condition that requires immediate medical treatment to prevent vision loss.
The exact cause of angle-closure glaucoma is unknown. However, factors that play a role in causing the disease include:
Sometimes certain medications can cause sudden angle-closure glaucoma. These include:
Angle-closure glaucoma is more common in older adults and in Asian people. Other factors that may increase your chance of developing angle-closure glaucoma include:
Patients with narrow angles experience few or no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an acute angle-closure attack. Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).
Tests may include:
Angle-closure glaucoma requires emergency medical treatment to preserve vision. See an ophthalmologist right away if you have any signs or symptoms of an angle-closure glaucoma attack. Treatment options include:
The Glaucoma Foundation
Glaucoma Research Foundation
Glaucoma Research Society of Canada
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Angle-closure glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 22, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/angle-closure-glaucoma.php. Updated January 14, 2015. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Vision screening recommendations for adults 40 to 60. Eye Smart—American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/midlife-adults-screening.cfm. Published March 3, 2014. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Vision screening recommendations for adults over 60. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/seniors-screening.cfm. Published March 3, 2014. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Vision screening recommendations for adults under 40. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/young-adults-screening.cfm. Published July 17, 2012. Accessed June 14, 2016.
What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/glaucoma.cfm. Updated January 10, 2015. Accessed June 14, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.