Clearer view of ‘acute’ glaucoma

Jonathan Trobe, M.D. (The Eyes Have It) [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Glaucoma is a common eye disease and leading cause of blindness. In glaucoma, intraocular pressure (IOP; fluid pressure within the eye) increases, damaging the optic nerve and causing vision loss. The familiar ‘chronic’ subtype of glaucoma develops slowly and may have few symptoms; many of those affected do not know they have the condition until it is detected during a clinical eye examination. Treatment for chronic glaucoma normally includes medication and laser surgery, and the prognosis is good. In contrast, angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) is a severe subtype of glaucoma. Acute ACG attacks are emergencies: debilitating symptoms, including severe eye pain, headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, occur suddenly. If IOP is not reduced promptly, rapid vision loss may ensue. Roughly 16 million people worldwide have ACG; 4 million people are blind in both eyes as a result.

Lab Anim. (NY) 40, 167 (2011).
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