National Glaucoma Research

Causes of Angle-Closure Glaucoma

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The eye produces a fluid called aqueous humor, which provides nutrition to the eye, and also maintains the eye in a pressurized state. The aqueous humor is continually produced and drains out of the trabecular meshwork, the network of cells and scaffolding material that sits in an area called the drainage angle.

In primary angle-closure glaucoma, the anatomy of the eye is such that the drainage angle, which can be thought of as the angle between the iris and the cornea, is more narrow. This anatomical configuration predisposes the person with narrow angles to an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack, which is a medical emergency.

In an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack, the angle progressively becomes more narrow, blocking drainage of aqueous fluid, leading to a sudden rapid rise in eye pressure. This can cause eye pain, decreased vision, headache, nausea and vomiting. There is a preventive measure to decrease the risk of such an attack in predisposed individuals with narrow angles, called laser peripheral iridotomy.

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