About Angle Closure Glaucoma
Angle Closure Glaucoma is a type of glaucoma caused by a blockage or complete closure of the drainage structure of the eye called the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork is actually a fine filter, and if it is blocked or obstructed by any alteration in the size or shape of the surrounding structures, or by change in the size or shape of the tissue itself, it will cause the intraocular pressure (IOP) to elevate. In instances where the meshwork becomes blocked abruptly, it will cause a sudden rise in the intraocular pressure (IOP), resulting in Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma. Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma is characterized by this sudden rise in pressure which will cause pain, redness, light sensitivity, colored haloes around lights, nausea or vomiting, and blurred vision, and if left untreated permanent loss of vision.
Medications Can Cause Angle Closure Glaucoma
In patients who may already be at risk for Angle Closure Glaucoma because they have certain tissue and anatomical features inside their eyes, certain medications can significantly increase their risk. Two medications that are worth mentioning are the antidepressants Wellbutrin (Buproprion) and Topamax® (Topiramate). While both of these are often used to treat mild to moderate depression, they are also used to help patients stop smoking! Researchers reporting a study in Archives of Ophthalmology found that the risk of angle-closure glaucoma in patients younger than 50 years was twice as high in patients taking Wellbutrin and more than 5 times higher in patients taking Topamax®.
If you or someone you know is being treated for depression or has been prescribed Wellbutrin or Topamax® to help stop smoking, please make sure you tell your eye doctor and ask about your risk of Angle Closure Glaucoma, as well as become familiar with the symptoms above. If you have not had an eye exam with glaucoma testing and are taking these medications, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.