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Closed-Angle Glaucoma: Remedies to Help Your Vision

Published | 4 min read

It’s important to get tested regularly for closed-angle glaucoma, especially if you’re Asian. Getting prompt treatment will prevent blindness.

A woman undergoing a vision test guided by an optometrist using a tonometer.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the nerve behind your eye (also called the optic nerve) and lead to vision impairment or blindness. There are different types of glaucoma, but none is more dangerous than closed-angle glaucoma, a condition where the pressure inside of your eye becomes too high. The pressure builds as fluid is not flowing out of your eye. If left untreated, it may damage your optic nerve, eventually leading to blindness.

You may be asymptomatic during the early stages, so it’s important to test your eyes regularly, especially if you’re at high risk.

Use this guide to better understand closed-angle glaucoma, and learn ways to maintain optimal eye health.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Closed-Angle Glaucoma?

Close-up of a man’s face with his left eye covered by a plastic shield after cataract surgery.
Prior eye surgery can make a person more prone to closed-angle glaucoma.

Glaucoma can happen to anyone, but it’s more common among the elderly. Having diabetes mellitus also makes it twice as likely for you to get glaucoma.

If you’re of Asian descent, your risk of closed-angle glaucoma is higher than that of people of other ethnicities. Other risk factors include: 

  • A family history of glaucoma 
  • Farsightedness 
  • Hypertension and hypotension 
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids 
  • Past eye injury or surgery 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that closed-angle glaucoma stems from internal imbalances and is a by-product of lifestyle habits such as work-related stress, insufficient sleep, an unhealthy diet, and binge drinking and smoking. 

As a result, you may experience symptoms such as cloudy vision, blood-shot and swollen eyes, seeing rainbow-like halos around lights, nausea and vomiting episodes, and sudden and severe pain in one eye. 

These symptoms may come and go at first but will gradually worsen with time.

Treatment Options for Closed-Angle Glaucoma 

A closed-angle glaucoma attack is a medical emergency. Urgent treatment is necessary to prevent blindness within a few days. 

At a healthcare facility, an ophthalmologist may prescribe pills, eye drops, or medicine given intravenously to lower your eye pressure. Under severe circumstances, you’ll need to undergo a surgical procedure called a laser iridotomy.

The procedure creates a hole to drain fluid from the back to the front of the eye. Without this outlet, fluid pressure builds, injures the optic nerve and results in permanent blindness. The unaffected eye must undergo this procedure as a precautionary measure.

TCM offers an alternative approach to glaucoma prevention and management through self-administered acupressure massages and herbal remedies. 

Targeted stimulation of acupressure points

Prevention is better than cure. Real Health Medical’s Senior Physician Brandon Yew advocates self-massaging specific acupressure points on your body to lower your risk of developing this condition. Apply pressure for three to five minutes at a time with your fingertips or a massage stick. 

A few acupoints that you can massage are: 

  • Jing ming (BL1, 睛明) 
  • Yang bai (GB14, 阳白) 
  • Cheng qi (ST1, 承泣) 
  • San yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交)  

Complimentary use of herbal remedies  

Decoctions can support the clinical treatment of closed-angle glaucoma. Combining the two helps eliminate pathogenic factors, restores energy levels within the organs, and improves the circulation of vital substances to your eyes.

Some of the decoctions that Physician Yew often prescribes are: 

  • Bao Yuan Tang (保元汤) 
  • Qi Ju Di Huang Wan (杞菊地黄丸) 
  • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (龙胆泻肝汤) 
  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (补中益气汤) 

Take a hard look at clinical and traditional treatment options to help you overcome or prevent closed-angle glaucoma. As always, consult a clinical specialist and a licensed TCM practitioner before starting any new treatment.

Have you battled glaucoma and now see the world in a new light? Share your story with us in the comments section below.

References

  1. National Eye Institute. Types of Glaucoma. [online] [Accessed March 1 2023] 
  2. Mount Sinai. Glaucoma. [online] [Accessed March 1 2023] 
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Glaucoma. [online] [Accessed March 1 2023] 
  4. Primary Eye Care Center. Laser Iridotomy. [online] [Accessed March 1 2023] 

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AnnaApr 13 2023

Very good article, thanks for sharing such information.

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