Halos around lights could be a sign of angle-closure glaucoma – an urgent eye problem
If you have intermittent halos around light, particularly in bright lights, that affects both eyes or lasts longer than 30 minutes, causes eye pain or discomfort, you may have incipient angle-closure glaucoma with raised eye pressure.
Angle-closure glaucoma is also sometimes called narrow-angle glaucoma, closed angle glaucoma, and if it aborts within 30 minutes and everything goes back to normal with the pressure returning to normal, then it can be called intermittent angle closure or intermittent narrow-angle glaucoma. If it occurs suddenly, it is acute angle-closure glaucoma, and if it happens gradually, it is a chronic angle-closure glaucoma.
Any form of angle-closure glaucoma whether it be intermittent, incipient, or unrelenting, needs urgent review by an urgent eye care ophthalmologist. Other urgent visual problems that cause similar symptoms include anterior uveitis or iritis, or a migraine with aura. Blurred vision symptoms have to be taken very seriously and checked by an ophthalmic specialist.
Miss Laura Crawley is the Glaucoma Ophthalmic Specialist here at Clinica London. She works here on Mondays and Wednesdays, and can also be seen by special arrangement outside of those sessions. Miss Crawley is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust. Her speciality is in all types of glaucoma and also cataract surgery, especially where it can help narrow-angle glaucoma.
In narrow-angle glaucoma, the patient’s lens can contribute to the iris blocking the drainage angle where the aqueous fluid drains. As we age the lens lays down new lens fibres and grows in size from front to back, so gets bigger and can press the iris forwards. In certain light conditions when there is, for instance, half light, the pupil also dilates and then space for the aqueous to drain at the “angle” of the eye is further reduced and symptoms of intermittent angle-closure glaucoma can occur.
One of the symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma is halos around lights such as street lights, wall lights and car lights. There can also be an eye ache and headache. As the pressure rises, the ache worsens, and visual symptoms worsen with blurred vision as the eye cornea clouds over.
Treatment of angle-closure glaucoma is directed at helping the aqueous drain out of the eye via the angle, continually, thus maintaining the eye pressure in the normal range of 11 – 20 mmHg. In angle-closure glaucoma, visual symptoms occur when the pressure is over 30 mmHg. Untreated there is the risk of painful loss of vision which may be permanent. Treatment can be with laser or surgical. Miss Laura Crawley will decide whether you require treatment, how urgently it is required and what type of treatment is best for you.