What are the signs and symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma (AACG)?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019
  • Author: Albert P Lin, MD; Chief Editor: Inci Irak Dersu, MD, MPH  more...
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In acute angle closure (AAC), the intraocular pressure (IOP) rises rapidly, and the patient may present with dramatic symptoms, including the following:

  • Sudden onset of severe ocular pain, redness, blurry vision, headache, and nausea and vomiting
  • Patients may complain of seeing haloes around lights. Haloes and blurry vision result from corneal edema.
  • The attack may have been precipitated by pupillary dilation, which may result from activities such as going to a movie theater, taking over-the-counter medications that contain antihistamine for cold or allergy, or using dilating eye drops as part of an ophthalmic examination.
  • Patients with AAC may be extremely uncomfortable and distressed.

Some patients experience intermittent episodes of partial angle closure and relatively elevated IOP without experiencing a frank attack of AAC. These patients may report incidents of mild pain with slightly blurred vision or may report seeing haloes around lights. Some may be completely asymptomatic. Symptoms can resolve spontaneously if the angle reopens on its own.

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