With thanks to Ms. Christie Brinkley for raising awareness of “acute angle closure,” a form of glaucoma which can cause severe pain and risk the loss of vision. Ms. Brinkley is not my patient, but she likely is a “narrow glaucoma angle suspect.” In patients with narrow angles, the internal passage way for fluid to leave the eye is narrow (think tunnel like) and the risk of an acute high eye pressure event increases.
This has nothing to do with dry eye or tearing! Narrow angles involve the internal “plumbing system” of the eye.
Older patients, women, patients of Asian descent, and those who are very far-sighted (hyperopia) are at increased risk for an acute narrow angle glaucoma attack.
The proposed therapy is a laser procedure to the iris called a Yag peripheral laser iridotomy. (Which Ms. Brinkley refers to as “drilling a hole thru your eye!”). In this case, her ophthalmologist used the laser to make an opening in the iris (the blue, brown or other colored portion of the eye) to create a “safety valve” so fluid can move more safely between the front and back of the eye.
Here are some helpful links on this topic:
- Are You an Angle-Closure Glaucoma Suspect? (glaucoma.org, patient friendly)
- Laser Iridotomy and Narrow Angles (glaucoma.org, patient friendly)
- Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) (Wills Eye Hospital, patient friendly)
- Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (EyeWiki, advanced information)
Dr. Goel performs YAG laser peripheral iridotomy as an in-office procedure at Regional Eye Associates in Cherry Hill, NJ.