Your ophthalmologist is capable of establishing the degree of narrowing of the angle in each of your eyes, and with this information can assess whether the eyes are at any significant risk for developing an acute attack in the future. The glaucoma specialist to whom you may then be referred to will check you thoroughly, as well as specifically for this problem, and will utilize his/her experience and discretion in order to judge whether the risk for an acute attack justifies a preventative laser treatment, called iridotomy, or if the risk is too low to substantiate such treatment at present. If the decision is difficult (as can often be the case) or if the patient is hesitant about agreeing to a laser procedure in an eye that he/she have always felt, up until that point, is perfectly healthy, one can always seek a second opinion. If the degree of narrowing is not critical, the physician can occasionally recommend that the patient consider the option for a few weeks and return for follow-up to continue to weigh the different options. The options just presented are reasonable avenues to help reach the goal of allowing each particular patient to make the decision that is best suited for him/her.
Glaucoma refers to certain eye diseases that affect the optic nerve and cause vision loss. Most, but not all, of these diseases typically produce elevated pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP). Normal IOP is measured in millimeters of mercury and can range from 10-21 mm Hg. An elevated IOP is the most important risk factor for the development of glaucoma. Elevated IOP is sometimes called ocular hypertension . If your doctor diagnoses ocular hypertension , it does not mean you have glaucoma, but it does mean you are at a higher risk for developing the condition, and you should see an ophthalmologist (a medical doctor who specializes in eye care and surgery) frequently.
The two main types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. In angle-closure glaucoma, the normal drainage canals within the eye are physically blocked. Angle-closure glaucoma can be acute (sudden in onset) or chronic (lasting a long time), while open-angle glaucoma is usually chronic. In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage system itself is open but microscopic abnormalities within it prevent normal outflow of fluid. Both angle-closure glaucoma and open-angle glaucoma may cause optic nerve damage and vision loss with or without symptoms. Glaucoma is either primary (occurring without an underlying other cause or other eye disease) or secondary (related to other reasons, such as trauma, inflammation or medication).