Treatment for Acute Closed-Angle Glaucoma - Topic Overview
closed-angle glaucoma is an emergency situation. When
fluid is suddenly blocked from draining out of the eye, pressure increases
quickly, causing damage to the optic nerve. If acute closed-angle glaucoma is
not treated, blindness develops rapidly.
Several medicines may be needed to lower the
intraocular pressure (IOP). Eyedrops that block the production of fluid
(aqueous humor) are usually used first. If eyedrops do not lower the pressure,
oral or intravenous (IV) medicines may be used.
drainage angle may be checked often using gonioscopy
to monitor the effects of the medicines on the angle. See gonioscopy in the
Exams and Tests section of this topic.
If medicine does not lower
the pressure, the person may need emergency laser treatment or surgery. Laser
treatment or surgery creates a way for fluid to move easily from the back part
(posterior chamber) to the front part (anterior chamber) of the
When medicine is able to lower the pressure, laser treatment
(laser iridotomy) is commonly done 1 week later. Surgery (surgical iridectomy)
is used for difficult cases. See the Surgery section of this
Although closed-angle glaucoma affects one eye first, the
other eye often (about half of the time) develops the condition within 5
years.1 For this reason, the other eye is examined and
also treated with a laser to prevent the condition from developing in
Ophthalmologists have been doing early cataract surgery to lower the risk of future attacks of acute closed-angle glaucoma. This treatment works, because removing the cataract creates more space in the front part of the eye. Having more space there makes it harder for the angle to close.