Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma Treatment

Self-Care at Home

No self-care is effective. Immediate treatment by an ophthalmologist is necessary to try to prevent further permanent vision loss.

Medical Treatment

An ophthalmologist must treat angle-closure glaucoma with either laser therapy or surgical therapy (see Surgery).

  • A laser iridotomy is the most commonly performed procedure. During a laser iridotomy, your eye doctor uses a laser beam to make a hole in the iris to reduce the pressure inside the eye. By making a hole in the iris, the fluid (aqueous humor) is better able to drain out from the posterior chamber to the anterior chamber of the eye.
  • If the iris cannot be accessed with a laser beam for some reason, a surgical (or incisional) iridectomy is performed, wherein your eye doctor creates the hole in the iris by making surgical incisions.

Prior to a laser iridotomy, your ophthalmologist uses medicines to reduce the pressure inside the eye and to clear up the cloudiness of the cornea that occur during an acute attack of angle-closure glaucoma. Also, because the pupil is often partially dilated (or enlarged), it is constricted (or made smaller) before laser surgery. See Medications.


Medicines that are used for acute angle-closure glaucoma prepare you to undergo either a laser iridotomy or a surgical iridotomy. They come in the form of medicated eyedrops (see How to Instill Your Eyedrops).

Prior to surgery, your ophthalmologist uses medicines to reduce the pressure inside the eye and to clear up the cloudiness of the cornea that occur during an acute attack of angle-closure glaucoma.

In acute angle-closure glaucoma, several drugs are used simultaneously to accelerate and maximize their pressure-lowering effects. The drugs lower IOP by decreasing the production of fluid in the eye.


Laser iridotomy

Laser iridotomy is the treatment of choice for angle-closure glaucoma. Iridotomy is performed using either an argon laser or an Nd:YAG laser.

The laser beam creates an opening in the iris through which the fluid (aqueous humor), which is trapped in the posterior chamber, can reach the anterior chamber and the trabecular meshwork (or drainage channels). As the fluid flows into the anterior chamber through this opening in the iris, the pressure behind the iris (ie, inside the eye) falls, allowing the iris to return to its normal position. This procedure opens the angle of the anterior chamber and relieves the blockage at the trabecular meshwork.

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
Understanding Stye
human eye
eye exam timing
vision test
is vision correction surgery for you
high tech contacts
eye drop