What is Narrow Angle Glaucoma?

Narrow angle glaucoma is a type of glaucoma in which the angle of the eye, between the iris and cornea, is narrow, causing a blockage in the outflow of fluid in the eye. As the fluid in the eye builds, eye causes pressure increases, which damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss. 

If this angle narrows further, it can become angle-closure glaucoma, which can be very dangerous and sight-threatening if not treated immediately. Keep reading to learn more about narrow angle glaucoma!

Narrow Angle Glaucoma in Detail

A healthy eye produces fluid that helps maintain the eye maintain its shape. In a healthy eye, there’s a balance between fluid production and fluid drainage.

The fluid that’s produced is called aqueous humor. It fills the front part of the eye and is produced by tissue called the ciliary body, which sits behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. 

Aqueous humor flows through the pupil into the eye’s angle, which is a space between the iris and the cornea, the domed-shape transparent layer covering the front of the eye. Aqueous humor then drains out of the eye through a network of channels called the trabecular meshwork. 

The trabecular meshwork acts like a sponge, helping the eye to maintain steady, consistent pressure. A healthy intraocular pressure (IOP) is essential to eye health and vision.  

When Your Eye Doesn’t Go With the Flow

If the trabecular meshwork becomes blocked or damaged, this affects the flow of aqueous humor. It can slow it down and lead to an increase in IOP. 

High IOP is a major cause of most common forms of glaucoma. When the angle between the iris and the cornea of the eye is too narrow, problems can occur also.

The iris can press against the trabecular meshwork, blocking the outflow of fluid. Or, if the angle becomes closed off, the fluid will not be able to reach the drainage channels, and IOP will rise.

If the angle of the eye is just narrow, but not yet closed off, it can still cause vision loss. While most forms of glaucoma are slow-developing, angle-closure glaucoma can happen rapidly, leading to sudden vision loss.

When to Seek Immediate Care

Rapid fluid buildup can permanently damage your sight. Acute narrow angle glaucoma is a serious medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. 

Call your doctor or go to an emergency room if you experience the following:

  • Intense eye pain 
  • Nausea 
  • Red eye 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Aching above your eyebrow

If it’s not treated timely, angle-closure glaucoma can cause blindness in a short amount of time. Laser treatment and medication can help the fluid drain.

This can lower eye pressure and protect your vision. You might have both eyes treated to prevent future problems, even if you only have narrow angle glaucoma in one eye. 

Schedule an Eye Exam

The best way to protect your eyes is to schedule routine eye exams to make sure glaucoma is detected early. Your doctor will be able to spot indications of glaucoma long before you experience any vision problems. 

Early detection means early treatment, preserving your sight now and for the future.

Do you want to learn more about glaucoma or have your eyes screened for the condition? Schedule an appointment at Mid Ohio Eye in Columbus, OH, today!