What Is Chronic Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.

What’s the difference between angle-closure glaucoma and chronic angle-closure glaucoma?

Angle-closure glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma (also called closed-angle glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma) is a type of glaucoma that happens when someone’s iris blocks the drainage angle in their eye. You can think of it like a piece of paper sliding over a sink drain. When the drainage angle gets completely blocked, eye pressure begins to rise. If this happens suddenly, it is called an acute attack.

Acute angle closure glaucoma is a true eye emergency, and you should call your ophthalmologist right away or you may lose vision permanently.

Here are the symptoms of an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack:

• your vision is suddenly blurry
• you have severe eye pain
• you have a headache
• you feel sick to your stomach (nausea)
• you throw up (vomit)
• you see rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights

Chronic angle-closure glaucoma

Many people with angle-closure glaucoma develop it slowly. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. There are no symptoms at first, so they don’t know they have it until the damage is severe or unless they have an attack of acute angle closure. One out of three people (30%) with chronic angle-closure will have a sudden blockage, causing an attack.