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Angle-closure glaucoma is a type of glaucoma, due to a sudden increase in pressure within the eye. Fluid, which is continuously produced inside the eye, stops being drained properly through the drainage channels and locked inside the eyeball, presses on the optic nerve gradually causing permanent damage, leading to permanent blindness.
The angle of the eye is an autonomous part of the eye, which includes structures, allowing the discharge of fluid from inside the eye. The angle is between the cornea and the iris, containing the liquid filtration system responsible for draining it from the eye. In angle-closure glaucoma, the iris is squeezed at an angle to the anterior chamber of the eye, which blocks fluid flow, increasing intraocular pressure.
If the angle in the eye closes suddenly, the symptoms of the disease can be extremely severe and dramatic. Immediate treatment is necessary to help prevent damage to the optic nerve and permanent vision loss. When the angle gradually closes, the angle-closure glaucoma is often mistaken for a chronic open-angle glaucoma – another type of glaucoma.
The increased risk of acute forms of angle-closure glaucoma is often associated with being overweight. This disease is much more common in women and black people. It may affect people of all ages, but it is most common in older people.
Causes of angle-closure glaucoma
Angle-closure glaucoma may occur for two reasons:
- Pupillary block – it is particularly prevalent in young people when there is a blocked flow of watery liquid through the pupils; It is associated with an inherent defect or particular eye structure,
- Cataract with lens swelling – occurs in older people with particular eye structure and most often a narrow-angle of vision, which causes the lens to enlarge which forces the iris to block the eye drainage angle.
Angle-closure glaucoma may be primary or secondary – the former is not associated with ophthalmic disease, but rather to a specific and integrated structure of the eye. The second, secondary form is associated with other diseases or conditions caused by trauma, medication or chronic illness.
Symptoms of angle closure glaucoma
Since in the case of acute forms of the disease the increase in intraocular pressure is a fast, symptoms also occur suddenly. This is very disturbing and uncomfortable at the time. May appear:
- severe pain in the eye,
- nausea and vomiting,
- blurred vision,
- sensitivity to light,
In sharp variations of angle-closure glaucoma, the most common issue concerns one of the eyes, and the symptoms become significantly worse within a few hours.
Some cases may manifest itself in the form of several episodes of elevated intraocular pressure without having the appearance of a full attack of glaucoma. In case we are dealing with a light form of angle-closure glaucoma, the patient may feel moderate pain, have a slightly blurred vision or sensitivity to light feel. These symptoms appear and then disappear spontaneously.
Diagnosis and treatment of angle-closure glaucoma
A sudden headache, nausea and blurred vision are clear signs of an increase in intraocular pressure, which requires prompt medical attention. During diagnosis, the doctor performs tests such as gonioscopy, tonometry, biomicroscopy, and ophthalmoscopy.
Where there is angle-closure glaucoma, it is necessary to perform laser treatment or surgery quickly. Temporarily before surgery may be used oral medications or intravenous injection, that allow to reduce the pressure inside the eye and purify the cornea.
Prevent angle-closure glaucoma is not easy because the disease is insidious. Regular examination and control of intraocular pressure are necessary. Early detection of abnormalities gives you the best chance of preventing permanent damage and loss of vision.