Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Narrow-angle glaucoma, also called acute glaucoma or angle-closure glaucoma, is much rarer and is very different from open-angle glaucoma. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, narrow-angle glaucoma is a result of the angle between the iris and cornea closing. The outer edge of the iris bunches up over the drainage canals, when the pupil enlarges too much or too quickly. This structural problem only occurs in a small percentage of eyes.

Are there symptoms?

Yes. The closed angle prevents fluid from reaching the drainage canals. As a result, the intraocular pressure rises very quickly. This causes a painful attack in the eye. The eye may appear red. You may have a headache, feel nauseous, feel intense eye pain, see rainbows around lights at night, or have blurred vision. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention to prevent serious eye damage.


Treatment of narrow-angle 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 narrow-angle glaucoma in one eye, doctors may go ahead and treat the other eye as a safety measure. In general, surgery for narrow-angle glaucoma is successful and long lasting. Regular check-ups are still important, though, because a chronic form of glaucoma could still occur.

*Information courtesy of Glaucoma Research Foundation

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