Closed-angle Glaucoma Treatment Options

During an acute attack of closed-angle glaucoma, IOP may be high enough to damage the optic nerve or block one of the blood vessels carrying blood and oxygen to the retina. Unless IOP is lowered immediately, blindness can occur within days.

IOP in the affected eye is lowered with medication followed by surgery, either with laser (iridotomy) or, rarely, with conventional incisions (iridectomy). In both cases, surgery involves making a tiny hole in the iris to allow a path for the flow of aqueous humor. Surgery is almost always successful, and repeat treatment is rarely necessary.

Another goal of treatment is to prevent an acute attack from occurring in the other eye, which is highly likely. A preventive iridotomy is therefore usually performed in the other eye. In some people, a chronic form of closed-angle glaucoma may require filtration surgery or long-term use of eyedrops.

Publication Review By: Susan B. Bressler, M.D., Harry A. Quigley, M.D., Oliver D. Schein, M.D., M.P.H.

Published: 02 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 07 Jan 2015