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Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma, also known as Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG), affects approximately one percent of all Americans, making it the most common form of glaucoma in our country. It primarily occurs to those over 50 years of age.
There are generally no symptoms associated with POAG. The pressure in the eye slowly rises without producing pain. This type of glaucoma often goes undetected. Most people do not realize that they are slowly losing vision until the later stages of the disease. However, by the time the vision is impaired, the damage is irreversible.
People at highest risk are those with any of the following:
Symptoms of Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a slow progressing eye disease. These are symptoms one may encounter as it progresses:
There is no cure for glaucoma at this time, but the disease can be slowed or arrested by reducing the intraocular pressure. Generally the first treatment options would be medications or eye drops that lower intraocular pressure or argon laser trabeculoplasty. It is crucial to take medications as prescribed by your doctor to prevent vision threatening damage.
Surgical intervention is another option. The main goal for surgery is to create a pathway for the fluid in the eye to pass, thus lowering intraocular pressure. Click here to learn more about glaucoma treatment.
Narrow Angle Glaucoma is also known as acute angle glaucoma or angle closure glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is much less common than open angle glaucoma It is also more dangerous because intraocular pressure can rise very quickly, leading to rapid damage of the optic nerve.
Is the cause of Narrow Angle Glaucoma the same as Open Angle Glaucoma?
No, the causes are different. Fluids produced in the eye flow over the lens, through the pupil and into the anterior chamber of the eye. The fluid then flows out of the eye through what is known as the trabecular meshwork, a spongy network of tissue. In narrow angle glaucoma, this route gets blocked. When this happens, the normal flow of fluid is restricted and this results in a rapid increase of the intraocular pressure.
Risk Factors for Narrow Angle Glaucoma
Whether you have risk factors or not, we will determine if you have a narrow angle as part of a routine eye examination.
Symptoms of Narrow Angle Glaucoma
Narrow angle glaucoma may produce noticeable symptoms, including:
Symptoms may go away after several hours or persist until treatment lowers your intraocular pressure. Narrow angle glaucoma is a medical emergency. If you experience the symptoms of narrow angle glaucoma, contact us immediately or go directly to the emergency room to avoid possible vision loss.
Treatment of Narrow Angle Glaucoma
Because of the potential for rapid and permanent vision loss, treatment for angle closure glaucoma is designed to rapidly decrease intraocular pressure using some or all of these treatments: