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Angle Closure GlaucomaTreatment

Our eyes are filled with a fluid (the aqueous) that is produced in the ciliary body and drains through the trabecular meshwork. In a healthy eye, the rates of fluid production and drainage are equal, and pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure, or IOP) remains stable. In people with glaucoma, however, fluid is produced faster than it drains, and pressure in the eye rises. This can cause vision loss and eventually blindness.

About 1 in 10 glaucoma patients has primary angle closure glaucoma. This type of glaucoma occurs when the trabecular meshwork becomes blocked. Most patients experience redness, discomfort, blurred vision or headache. Treatment involves making an incision in the iris to restore the proper flow of aqueous fluid (an iridectomy or iridotomy) or creating a new, clear channel in the sclera (the white part of the eye) for the fluid to travel through (a trabeculectomy). Patients are often given medications in addition to these procedures to ensure that the glaucoma is kept under control.

A few patients experience acute angle closure glaucoma, a sudden rise in intraocular pressure that frequently causes blurred vision, severe pain, colored halos, reddened eyes, and nausea or vomiting. Immediate treatment is critical. A combination of eye drops and oral medications is usually prescribed to lower pressure and swelling and allow the physician to examine the eye. When the eye has been stabilized, an iridectomy or iridotomy may be performed.

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