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Angle Recession Glaucoma

Exams and Tests

Ideally, angle recession should be discovered before glaucoma develops, so that the actual risk of glaucoma can be assessed and appropriate care can be arranged. In determining whether or not you have angle recession, your ophthalmologist performs different tests during an office examination. Each test is described below. 


  • Angle recession is always diagnosed by a test called gonioscopy.

    • During gonioscopy, the drainage angle of your eye is checked. The angle of the eye is formed where the iris and the cornea come together inside your eye. This test is important to determine if the angles are open, narrowed, or closed and to rule out any other conditions that could cause elevated IOP. To view the angle, a special contact lens is placed on the eye.

    • During this test, your ophthalmologist examines the angle for characteristic features of angle recession. Your eye doctor also compares the affected angle with the angle of the fellow eye. When many years have passed following the injury, recognizing angle recession may be difficult.

    • If the eye is severely traumatized and gonioscopy cannot be performed, then a high-frequency ultrasound biomicroscopy may be used to examine the angles for any abnormalities.
  • Visual field testing is very important in detecting and monitoring angle recession. Visual field testing checks your peripheral (or side) vision, usually with an automated visual field machine. This test is done to rule out any visual field defects due to glaucoma.

    • Visual field defects may not become apparent until over 40% of the optic nerve fiber layer has been lost.

    • Visual field testing may need to be repeated. If there is a low risk of glaucomatous damage, then the test may be performed only once a year. If there is a high risk of glaucomatous damage, then the test may be performed as frequently as every 2 months.

    • If your visual field defects seem to appear or change in a manner that is uncharacteristic of glaucoma, then your ophthalmologist performs additional tests to look for other causes of vision loss.

  • Tonometry is a method used to measure the pressure inside the eye. 

    • Elevated IOP in one eye is a hallmark finding in angle recession glaucoma, but it may not be noted early on. High IOP that occurs soon after the injury (within the first few months) may indicate more extensive damage and, thus, a poorer prognosis.

    • Measurements are taken for both eyes on at least 2-3 occasions. Because IOP varies from hour to hour in any individual, measurements may be taken at different times of day (eg, morning and night). A difference in pressure between the 2 eyes of 3 mm Hg or more may suggest glaucoma.

    • As in other forms of glaucoma, uncontrolled and sustained IOP elevation in angle recession glaucoma ultimately leads to optic nerve damage and vision loss.

  • Each optic nerve is examined for any damage or abnormalities; this may require dilation of the pupils to ensure an adequate examination of the optic nerves.

    • Different imaging studies may be conducted to document the status of your optic nerve and to detect changes over time.

    • Fundus photographs, which are pictures of your optic disc (the front surface of your optic nerve), are sometimes taken for future reference and comparison.

  • The front of your eyes (or anterior segment), which includes your cornea, anterior chamber, iris, and lens, are examined using a slit lamp. A number of abnormalities in the anterior segment often accompany angle recession.

  • Abnormalities in the posterior segment may signify prior episodes of trauma, which might have caused the angle recession. The posterior segment is considered to include the choroid, the retina, the optic nerve, and the vitreous humor (a gel-like substance in the eye that, along with aqueous humor, helps to retain eye pressure).

  • Your visual acuity, which refers to how well you can see an object, is also evaluated. Your ophthalmologist determines your visual acuity by having you read letters from across a room using an eye chart. Any changes in visual acuity are not typically seen until the late stages of glaucoma.

Angle Recession Glaucoma Treatment

Self-Care at Home

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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