Understanding Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
Acute-angle closure glaucoma refers to a condition where there is an abrupt rise in one’s intraocular, or eye pressure. This causes the aqueous humor, or eye fluid to become blocked and unable to drain from the eye. This condition can cause serious symptoms, and if not recognized and treated quickly, vision loss can occur.
Acute-angle closure glaucoma can cause profound and severe symptoms. These symptoms may include excruciating eye pain, headache, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision. The patient may also report a halo-like effect around images, which is related to corneal swelling. In addition, copious tearing may occur, and can occur unilaterally. This condition is considered a medical emergency, and if not treated immediately, may result in vision loss due to optic nerve damage.
Acute-angle closure glaucoma can be treated by bringing the intraocular pressure down to acceptable levels. To achieve this, medications such as beta blockers and osmotic diuretics are generally administered. Sometimes, when conventional treatments are not effective in decreasing eye pressure, a procedure known as corneal indentation may be warranted. Corneal indentation temporarily opens or widens the angle, lower intraocular pressure. After intraocular pressure has been decreased, regardless of methods used, a procedure known as a laser peripheral iridotomy is generally performed to definitively control this condition.
Anyone who experiences sudden, severe eye pain, especially if it is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, needs to seek emergency medical care. Failure to do so may result in permanent vision loss and disability.