Angle Closure Glaucoma by Dr. Zack Burkhart

Angle closure glaucoma is a serious condition that can, if untreated, lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness. Patients who are at risk for this type of glaucoma have “narrow angles,” meaning the front fluid-filled compartment of the eye is particularly small. Such patients are often far-sighted, or “hyperopic” and at least 1/3 have a family history of a close relative with the condition.

An episode of “acute angle closure” in a patient like this can cause rapid elevation of the pressure inside the eye, with symptoms of a headache, eye pain, eye redness, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Any person with these symptoms should alert an eye care professional as soon as possible, since prolonged elevation of eye pressure can cause severe and permanent damage to the eye.

Focal Point Vision doctors always assess the risk of angle closure glaucoma for each new patient they see, utilizing a variety of tools including special prisms called gonioscopy lenses and an imaging device called an anterior segment optical coherence tomographer (ASOCT). These examination tools help our doctors determine which patients might benefit from a preventative laser procedure known as Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI).

Any patient having an “acute angle closure” episode, and those patients at high risk for such an episode, should have LPI performed. The procedure is done quickly in the office with minimal discomfort, excellent success rate, and extremely low risk to the patient. The laser procedure essentially removes the future risk of angle closure episodes, and should be performed on both eyes, since patients with narrow angles are typically at risk for glaucoma in both eyes. Narrow angle patients who also have cataracts are sometimes treated with cataract surgery, which eliminates the risk of angle closure glaucoma, and improves the vision at the same time.

Don’t hesitate to call 210-614-3600 and make an appointment with the doctors at Focal Point Vision if you or someone you love may have a risk of angle closure glaucoma.