(Acute Angle-closure Glaucoma; Single Angle-closure Glaucoma; Narrow Angle Glaucoma)
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Glaucoma is an eye disease that can damage the eye nerve. Damage to the nerve can lead to poor eyesight or blindness. Angle-closure glaucoma (ACG) is one type of glaucoma. It may be:
ACG happens when fluid cannot drain from channels in the front of the eye. When fluid builds up, it raises pressure in the eye. This can damage the eye nerve.
ACG may be caused by:
ACG is more common in women and adults over 50 years old. It is also more common in people of Chinese, Vietnamese, Pakistani, or Inuit decent. Other things that may raise the risk of ACG are:
In people at risk for ACG, the risk may be higher if they:
Chronic ACG has few or no symptoms. Acute ACG may cause:
Acute ACG often happens in one eye at a time.
Chronic ACG may cause brief episodes of the symptoms above. The fluid channels may slowly get smaller in both eyes.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done.
An eye doctor will give tests, such as:
Imaging of the retina may also be done, such as:
Other imaging and tests may be done, as needed.
Acute ACG needs care right away. The pressure will need to be lowered to prevent nerve damage. Fast treatment can help save vision.
Medicine can help lower pressure in the eye. It may be given as eye drops, pills, or through an IV.
Surgery can help widen the fluid channel in front of the eye. It is an option for chronic ACG or acute ACG once pressure is under control. Options include:
Those at risk for ACG may be advised to not take certain medicines. Iridotomy may help lower the risk of ACG in those with narrow drain channels. This may be advised for those who:
The Glaucoma Foundation
Glaucoma Research Foundation
Glaucoma Research Society of Canada
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Angle-closure glaucoma. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/munnerlyn-laser-surgery-center/angleclosure-glaucoma-19 . Accessed July 26, 2021.
Angle-closure glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/angle-closure-glaucoma. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/angle-closure-glaucoma.php. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Napier ML, Azuara-Blanco A. Changing patterns in treatment of angle closure glaucoma. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2018;29(2):130-134.
What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma. Accessed July 26, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 7/26/2021