What is Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

medical illustration of angle-closure glaucoma

Angle-Closure Glaucoma happens when the drainage canals get blocked or covered over, like a sink with something covering the drain.

With angle-closure glaucoma, the iris is not as wide and open as it should be. The outer edge of the iris bunches up over the drainage canals, when the pupil enlarges too much or too quickly. This can happen when entering a dark room.

A simple test can be used to see if your angle is normal and wide or abnormal and narrow.

Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma may include headaches, eye pain, nausea, rainbows around lights at night, and very blurred vision.


Treatment of angle-closure glaucoma usually involves either laser or conventional surgery to remove a small portion of the bunched-up outer edge of the iris. Surgery helps unblock the drainage canals so that the extra fluid can drain.

If you have angle-closure glaucoma in one eye, doctors may go ahead and treat the other eye as a safety measure.

In general, surgery for angle-closure glaucoma is successful and long lasting. Regular checkups are still important though, because a chronic form of glaucoma could still occur.

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Video Transcript

In cases of acute angle closure glaucoma, the iris may bow forward so much that it cuts off your eye’s angle completely. Unlike narrow angle glaucoma where some fluid can still drain from the eye, acute angle closure glaucoma does not let any fluid drain. It develops quickly and its symptoms can include severe pain, red eye, and nausea. Acute angle closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. If the high pressure is not reduced within hours, it can permanently damage your vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately contact your eye doctor or go to a hospital emergency room.