Narrow-Angle Glaucoma: How it Works
Narrow-angle glaucoma is very different and far more rare than open-angle glaucoma, as eye pressure normally rises very fast. This is due to drainage canals being blocked or covered over, which pushes the iris against the lens of the eye forcing the drainage angle shut.
When the lens and the iris stick to one other, pressure can increase suddenly to create a feeling of fullness in the eye, reddening, swelling and blurred vision. If not treated immediately, this type of glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness in the affected eye within 3 to 5 days.
Because the onset of acute narrow-angle glaucoma is typically very rapid and can lead to devastating results, anyone experiencing symptoms should consult their eye doctor immediately.
Narrow-Angle Glaucoma: Treatment Overview
Narrow-angle glaucoma is treated surgically, unlike the more common open-angle glaucoma that is managed in most cases with eye drops.
Laser iridotomy is a common treatment for narrow-angle glaucoma. During this procedure, a laser is used to create a small hole in the iris, restoring the flow of fluid to the front of the eye. In most patients, the iridotomy is placed in the upper portion of the iris, under the upper eyelid, where it cannot be seen.
Filtration surgery is performed when medicines and/or laser surgery are unsuccessful in controlling eye pressure. During this microscopic procedure, a new drainage channel is created to allow fluid to drain from the eye.