Narrow Angle Glaucoma Basics

Narrow angle glaucoma, also known as angle-closure glaucoma, is a type of glaucoma characterized by the narrowing or closure of the drainage angle in the eye. This blockage prevents the proper flow of fluid out of the eye, leading to a sudden increase in intraocular pressure and potential damage to the optic nerve.

When to See a Doctor

Laser iridotomy is used to prevent angle-closure glaucoma in people who are at risk for having this issue. Those people have what is called "narrow angle." If the iris suddenly blocks the drainage angle, it is called an attack of acute angle-closure glaucoma. Symptoms of an attack include:

  • hazy or foggy vision
  • severe eye and/or brown pain
  • headace, nausea, vomiting
  • seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights

An acute angle-closure glaucoma attack is an emergency. It must be treated quickly to prevent loss of vision. If you have these symptoms, call an ophthalmologist right away or go to a hospital emergency room.

Some people do not have symptoms with their closed-angle glaucoma, but high pressure is still damaging the optic nerve. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. This condition often requires surgery. Ophthalmologists know that reducing eye pressure as soon as possible can save your vision.

Learn how LPI can help your glaucoma symptoms.

What is a Laser Peripheral Iridotomy?

Laser iridotomy is an outpatient procedure. A laser will be used to create a tiny hole in your iris. This helps the aqueous fluid flow out of the eye. It also helps the iris return to its normal position. The fluid can then move in and out of the eye as it should, lowering the pressure within. Laser iridotomy only takes a few minutes. Here's what happens:

  • Your eye will be numbed with eye drops. You may be given other eye drops as well to make your pupil very small.
  • Your ophthalmologist will place a special contact lens on your eye. This serves as a guide for the laser.
  • Using the laser, your ophthalmologist will precisely create a tiny hole in your iris. You may feel a stinging sensation as the laser is used.
  • After the procedure, your vision may be blurry for a few hours. Plan to have someone drive you home after the surgery.
  • Your ophthalmologist may prescribe medicine that you need to take for a few days after laser iridotomy.

Illustration of Laser Iridotomy procedure

Benefits of LPI

Angle widening. LPI helps to widen the angle by creating a small opening in the iris, allowing for better fluid drainage and reducing the risk of angle-closure glaucoma.

Prevention of Vision Loss. By lowering the risk of angle-closure glaucoma, LPI can help preserve your vision and prevent sudden vision loss associated with this condition.

Minimally Invasive. LPI is a minimally invasive procedure performed in an outpatient setting, usually taking only a few minutes to complete.

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