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Narrow Down Your Chances of Developing Acute Narrow Angle Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that is brought […]

By Published On: 1 June 20183.1 min read

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that is brought about by increased pressure inside the eyes or what is called intraocular pressure.

The increase in pressure can damage your retina and optic nerves which prevent them from functioning normally.

Your retina and optic nerve are responsible for transmitting light to your brain where it is transformed into images. When you suffer from glaucoma, you are at risk of having severe vision loss or even blindness if it is not treated early.

Glaucoma may be classified as either acute narrow angle or open angle. Here are some helpful information about the acute narrow angle kind:

•    This type may also be called angle closure or narrow angle glaucoma.

•    It is not as common as the open angle kind. It only affects less than 10% of a Caucasian population.  Interestingly narrow angle glaucoma is more common in an Asian population.

•    This is more serious than the open angle type.

•    This condition is often hereditary.

•    It commonly occurs in elderly women who are farsighted. The risk increases with age and it is most common in people who are 60 years old and above.

•    Diabetes can increase your risk of developing acute narrow angle glaucoma.

•    This condition normally occurs if you have a shallow space between your cornea at the front of your eye and the colored iris that is behind your cornea. As you age, your pupil becomes smaller while and the lens behind it grows bigger.

When this happens, the flow of fluid to the drainage site in your eye is restricted. Fluid may build up behind your iris and block the channel that allows aqueous fluid to drain. With this blockage, your intraocular pressure may rise rapidly.

Symptoms of Narrow Angle Glaucoma

•    When you suffer from this condition, you may exhibit symptoms such as having blurry vision, seeing colored halos around lights and redness and severe pain in the eye.

•    If there is a sudden increase of intraocular pressure, you may experience severe pain in your eye which can be accompanied by vomiting and nausea. This is an emergency situation which requires immediate treatment. You should call your eye doctor immediately or proceed to the emergency room so you can receive the necessary treatment to preserve your vision and to avoid this type of glaucoma from worsening.

•    Occasionally acute narrow angle glaucoma can be misdiagnosed as a stomach virus due to the vomiting and nausea symptoms.  If your optometrist has advise you that you are at risk make sure you mention this to the emergency doctor.

Treating Narrow Angle Glaucoma

•    If you are at risk of developing this condition, make sure to note some medications that can further increase your risk. Consult your doctor or read the package carefully to ascertain whether or not a medication is good for you. You should also have regular eye check-ups to assess the health of your eyes as early detection and treatment are essential in addressing this disease.

•    This condition can be treated through peripheral iridectomy or a laser procedure called laser iridotomy that creates a new opening in the iris so that the aqueous fluid can move more easily to the drainage site in your eye. While only one eye may be affected with glaucoma, both eyes may be subjected to this procedure because the other eye is also at risk of developing the condition.

•    Another great treatment for narrow angle glaucoma is to do cataract surgery.  This is because the physiological lens inside the eye, swells with age, which in turn can block the drainage system of the eye.  By removing this swollen lens and replacing it with a smaller artificial lens, not only can you sometimes cure narrow angle glaucoma, but also become less dependant on prescription glasses.



  1. Sandra Jones 10 September 2016 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I thank you so much for this “Eye Opening” information. :) I just had the surgery done on one eye yesterday. Yes I believe it’s hereditary from my mom. My Sis is going to check her eyes now also. I wondered why I’d get nauseous when I’d awaken in the mornings! I’d take a bite of something and it would go right away, but I couldn’t figure why it happened. The doctor only mentioned the headaches and hadn’t mentioned the nausea. Thank you because I’ve been hoping it wasn’t some kind of stomach cancer. He told me I’ve had this for a long time and it’s truly been a while since I’ve felt the nausea. I also was thinking that maybe only one eye could have the pressure so why do both eyes!? And he did the eye I thought may not have pressure like the other. But once again, you have helped to open my eyes to the understanding! THANKS…MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!

  2. Abdul inam 21 June 2017 at 4:46 am - Reply

    Please advised me exercise about glaucoma

    • Jim Kokkinakis 6 July 2017 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Studies have shown that exercise is a great treatment for glaucoma assuming two things:
      1. You are fit enough to exercise.
      2. You do not have a particular form of glaucoma called pigmentary dispersion syndrome. In this case exercise can make it worse.

  3. Janis H 28 June 2017 at 1:06 am - Reply

    I unfortunately had a full blown closed angle episode which has caused the loss of sight in my left eye. It happened st the movie theater & after brubg admitted to the hospital for possible stroke & the pressure at 70 for 3 days they figured it out. After 5 laser iridotomy surgeries (the latest was yesterday) & cataract surgery in both eyes I’m hoping to keep sight in at least one eye

    • Jim Kokkinakis 6 July 2017 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      This is very unfortunate Janis. Your case is classic. The fact you have had cataract surgery and laser iridotomies the chance you will lose the visio in the good eye now is extremely unlikely. You should not worry, just have regular eye tests.

  4. Margie 21 September 2017 at 6:52 am - Reply

    If my pressure is ok and my eyesight 20/25, can I put off the lazer surgery even though diagnosed with acute narrow angles glaucoma? Maybe I won’t be one of the ones to have the attack?

    thank you, I am struggling with this decision!

    • Jim Kokkinakis 22 September 2017 at 7:52 am - Reply

      Margie I know that making these decisions are difficult especially because they are your eyes. Of course it is possible that you will not have an attack, but your risk is high (assuming the diagnosis is correct). Are you seeing a glaucoma specialist? This is important as they have a lot more experience in making this determination. A second opinion never goes astray, just insist on being referred to a glaucoma specialist.

  5. Julia Barber 21 November 2017 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I’ve had laser in both eyes last year but now they want to do cataract surgery I’m hesitant to do this as my lense are clear and eye sight ok but pressure high at there any other treatment before I have cataract surgery..I’m 55 years old and feel too young for this ..

  6. Julia Barber 21 November 2017 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    I’ve had laser last year and now im having cataract surgery due to high pressure of 24 my lense are clear and eye sight ok and not changing so feel cataract surgery is last resort as I’m 55 years old I feel too young there any other treatment available before this surgery..

    • Jim Kokkinakis 23 November 2017 at 6:47 am - Reply

      If you have narrow angles and are at risk of narrow angle glaucoma, there is no question that cataract surgery improves the situation. Another option is laser iridotomy.

      This is less invasive but it is still a procedure.

  7. Jill Smith 12 December 2017 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Hello and thank you,

    I just had a second examination done for what my optometrist diagnosed me with, or narrow angle glaucoma. I am indeed diagnosed with this, and am told to come back in 6 months for another eye exam. I was informed that I will need surgery at one point, and also, that in addition to my eyes being unable to drain properly, I will develop increased cataracts. My question is, can I have the surgery sooner than later? Thanks,

    Jill Smith

    • Jim Kokkinakis 28 December 2017 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Cataracts are inevitable for most of us. Having early cataract surgery is also a great treatment to stop the possibility of narrow angle glaucoma. If you are over 50 this is a good option.

  8. NARA 4 May 2018 at 4:01 am - Reply


    • Jim Kokkinakis 6 June 2018 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Nara Im afraid eye exercises do not help. What has been shown to help is general aerobic exercise. Physical exercise increases bloodflow, which in turn helps the optic nerve.

  9. Marilyn 3 July 2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Its recently diagnosed with narrow angle glaucoma, which was confirmed by a retina specialist. I as also informed of having cataracts. I was offered the laser procedure to correct the angle but not offered the cataract surgery to address both problems, not sue why?

    • Jim Kokkinakis 22 August 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      I suspect this is because the surgeon perceives that cataract surgery is more invasive than the laser procedure. Depending on how old you are and whether the cataracts are affecting your vision it could make sense to go straight to the cataract option, especially if you wear glasses for distance vision correction.

  10. Vicki Curtis 6 March 2020 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I was just diagnosed with narrow angles but my eye specialist said my pressure is fine at 15. So, he said I do not have glaucoma but that I need the laser surgery on both eyes. He told me to avoid antihistamines and any medication that may dilate the eyes. I have not had any episodes except for chronic red eyes. Scheduled procedures for May and June.

    • Jim Kokkinakis 3 May 2020 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      This sounds about right Vicki. Assuming the observations were accurate this advice is correct.

    • Sangeetha 3 June 2021 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Hi Vicki, I am diagnosed with narrow-angle during a regular eye checkup. I do not have any symptoms as of now but recommended a laser iridotomy to prevent closed-angle glaucoma. Did you get your surgery done? If so, would you mind sharing how you feel post-surgery?

  11. Susan 13 August 2021 at 2:16 am - Reply

    I am a 47 year old woman who has narrow angles. I had laser surgery three years ago, but the “holes” are slowly closing, so my ophthalmologist and the glaucoma specialist recommended cataract surgery. Obviously, I am scared to have the surgery, but I am more scared of losing my vision. My questions: What can I expect my vision to be like after the surgery (more so long term)? How long do the artificial lenses last (will they need to be replaced)?

    • Jim Kokkinakis 2 October 2021 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Catartact surgery in most cases will open up your drainage system really well. If you are seeing a glaucoma specialist then I would take that advice, unless you want a second opinion, which never goes astray, but it must be with another glaucoma specialist.
      Long term after the cataract surgery, other than fixing the drainage problem you can expect good vision, but expect to wear glasses some or all of the time, especially for reading. Ifyou are offered multifocal artificial lenses, do not accept you will be independent of glasses (although you might be). The lenses last for the rest of your life. Occasionally (about 10%) of the time you will rrquire a follow up procedure called capsulotomy. This is quite a benign procedure, which virtually works immediately. This can occur even up to a year or two after cataract surgery.

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