Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. It is a group of diseases that can cause blindness without any warning signs or symptoms. Over 4 million Americans have glaucoma and remarkably, only half of them even know it. People at every age are at risk for glaucoma, from babies to seniors. However, the most common type of glaucoma known as Primary Open Angle Glaucoma or POAG is usually more prevalent as we age. It is not usually curable and unlike cataracts, vision loss from glaucoma cannot be regained. The other main type of glaucoma is called “angle-closure glaucoma”. It is also called acute glaucoma or narrow angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is not as common and very different from primary open-angle glaucoma.

Narrow angle glaucoma is caused by a narrowing of the angle between the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the cornea (the clear dome shaped structure in front of the eye). This type of glaucoma develops quickly and causes severe eye pain, a red eye and blurred vision. It is a condition which requires immediate attention to prevent serious eye damage.

Treatment of acute angle closure glaucoma involves using eye drops to lower the eye pressure immediately and then performing a laser peripheral iridotomy. This is an outpatient procedure performed in your doctor’s office or in an ambulatory surgery center. A laser peripheral iridotomy involves making a small opening in the iris to allow fluid to drain from the back of the eye to the front part of the eye to equalize the intraocular pressure.

Often, your doctor can detect if a patient is at risk for this type of narrow angle glaucoma and may recommend a preventative laser iridotomy to prevent a narrow angle glaucoma attack. This is a painless procedure and it is performed as an office procedure here at Peninsula Laser Eye Medical Group.

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