Just What I NEED – Another Hole in my Head (Parenthetically Speaking)

Thursday I’m getting another hole in my head.  I already have several.  I’m going to have a laser poke a hole in my eye.

Apparently, I have Narrow Angle Glaucoma.  Well, I don’t have it yet but I do have narrow angles. (That may be the only “narrow” place on my body.)

So OF COURSE I researched it and OF COURSE will share it with all of you.  So here’s the Q & A and my parenthetical comments.

What is Narrow or Closed Angle Glaucoma (NAG)?
This is the second most common form of glaucoma. Patients often have acute attacks of eye pain due to sudden increases in eye pressure. Between attacks the eye pressure is normal. (Probably the only thing about me that has been normal)

Why do attacks happen?
A watery fluid is generated inside the normal eye. It circulates through the eye and drains out of the eye in the “angle” between the cornea (the clear window of the eye) and the iris (the colored part of the eye). (Brown) Some people are born with narrow, slit-like draining angles (sounds like an alien baby). In such people, anything that further narrows the angle prevents adequate drainage and causes the pressure to build up. The patient then experiences an acute attack of Narrow or Closed Angle Glaucoma.

What are the symptoms of NAG?

Between attacks the eye pressure is normal and there are no symptoms. During the attack there are often eye pain, nausea and

Before Vomitting

sometimes vomiting. (I don’t vomit.  I refuse.  I got seasick on a sail boat on a blind date several decades ago.  I ran side to side throwing up over the side of the boat closest to the water. It wasn’t a pretty sight and ever since I’ve refused to vomit)  The eye may be red, vision may be blurry and patients may see halos around the lights. (and all this time I thought those were celestial beings)

How dangerous is an acute attack of NAG?

An attack of this type of glaucoma is an emergency. Untreated, it may cause blindness in a day or two.

( If I ever went blind I would get a guide horse.  I’d have to move to the country because one of the criteria is that the horsie can have space outside. Guide Horses live close to 30 years and have to wear booties in shopping malls because of their hoofs)

What medicines should patients with Narrow Angle Glaucoma avoid?

Patients with Narrow Angle Glaucoma should avoid cold remedies (I refuse to get a cold.  I also refuse to get the flu which requires vomiting) which contain Pseudoephedrine, Phenylephrine or Neo-Synephrine; anti-histaminics Chlorpheniramine, Diphenhydramine or Benadryl and overactive bladder remedies such as Detrol. These remedies often carry a warning telling you not to use them if you have glaucoma. If your Narrow Angle Glaucoma has been treated with laser, these medicines become safe for you to use.

Javelina looking to be thrown

Steroids and Narrow Angle Glaucoma.
Steroids (cortisone, hydrocortisone, prednisolone, etc.) increase eye pressure. They are a potential problem for patients with the POAG type glaucoma, not for patients with Narrow Angle type glaucoma. (That’s a relief because without my steroids I don’t stand a chance for making the javelin throwing Olympic Team)

How is an acute attack of NAG treated?

Narrow Angle Glaucoma is treated with a laser. In this office procedure a small drain hole (See! I wasn’t being histrionic . . . this time) is created in the iris, the colored part of the eye ( brown). The hole is of microscopic size. The operation is painless. (That’s what they all say). In addition to laser treatment, eyedrops are administered to lower the pressure.

Image from Wkipedia

How can you prevent glaucoma attacks?

An easy and painless way to prevent attacks is to create a microscopic drain hole with the laser. (This is undoubtedly where the phrase “everything is going down the drain” came from) This preventive treatment can be done at any time. (Thursday) We recommended this approach to people prone to acute attacks (Alien babies born with narrow angles). When such people are traveling  they may not have access to prompt treatment. If they have an attack, serious damage may occur in a matter of hours, long before they reach a treatment center.(Now I know why I haven’t had a vacation in 7 years) Also, people may delay treatment until it is too late because they do not recognize that they are having a glaucoma attack. They often think that they are just having a headache, or a migraine. Because they do not suspect glaucoma they fail to seek treatment and damage to the nerve takes place. Once the nerve fibers are dead, the damage cannot be reversed.

Can laser-made openings close?

Yes, rarely. Then new attacks may occur. If the pain comes back while you are taking medicines known to cause glaucoma attacks, do not take any more and call us immediately. Explain to the receptionist your situation. Tell her that you might be having an acute glaucoma attack. Ask her to have your pressure checked now. If the office is closed, call Dr. Belamaric or Dr. Reno or go to KEI to be checked (see “Emergencies”).(Great, I don’t have their phone numbers.  I’ll have to check the contact page)

My doctor says she’s done thousands of making holes with lasers.  She’s very young and pretty.  I just hope she doesn’t get carried away.

16 thoughts on “Just What I NEED – Another Hole in my Head (Parenthetically Speaking)

  1. Very informative but then wish you had researched without making it connected with your discomfort… and the comments are indeed absolutely delightful to read even when the topic is serious….Judy, all the best..


    • Ramesh, I understand your point about researching without connecting it to me. That’s just my way of helping other also have information about their bodies and their world.
      P.S. The picture of the woman on the boat is NOT me. Unfortunately


      • Judy I think I wrote it wrongly.. what I meant was that I wish you did not have to go through the experience yourself…. Trust me if you will..it’s only after you mentioned that I looked at the lady on the boat and I am happy that it were not you…your picture with your arms extended to hug the wrld is a lot better.. than any other..


  2. Good luck on Thursday! My mother always said I had holes in my head, but I think she was referring to the 2 sets of ear piercings. . . now I gotta go check and see if I have some she never told me about.
    Hope the lazer is small, the proceedure as quick, and as painless as possible, and the recovery immediate.
    PS: actually 2 PSs: I want a guide horse too! And, if you lived in the country, you wouldn’t have to go to malls too often — though the horse could have several funky pairs of booties. And, the javelina looks so cute, would you really want to throw one?
    Will be sending you good surgery thoughts on Thursday.


  3. Judy,
    I can’t believe you have this thing! I admire the way you understand everything
    about your illnesses….in detail. You are hysterical….these pictures are
    priceless. Take care and be cautious.
    Love xo.


  4. Do they use a microscopic laser to make a microscopic drain hole? I’ll be sending happy perfect-microscopic drain hole thoughts your way.


    • Rick,
      I’ll let you know how microscopic the laser is after Thursday! – Let’s hope it’s smaller than my eyeball. The doctor said that narrow angle glaucoma was more common with small eyes (obviously). I told her I could blame my Father for my small eyes since mothers get blamed for everything else.


  5. You sound very calm and funny about all of this…or is that your way of saying…I’m scared out of my mind but I use comedy to mask it?

    I’m glad they caught this before you had a major attack and lost your sight. From someone who is losing her hearing, Losing one of your major senses…no not my sense..we know I lost that a long time ago….is a difficult thing to deal with. But I’m getting there.

    Oh..and I have you beat! I have TWO extra holes in my head,,,and they are over an inch and a half across! Phft…little laser hole..that’s not a hole! : ) (and they had to take my ear off to drill my hole…so there! hahaha)

    No, I’m not trying to one up you…I’m just being silly. But I bet my scar is bigger than your scar.
    Not the pacemaker one! I’m sure that one is a doozy. But I have a few more. : )

    I’m a silly goose too.


    • Goose Girl Wendy,
      I am calm about the eye-ball procedure. The “funny” is just my amusing myself. You do have me beat if your have TWO extra holes in your head and it’s ok to one-up-me! I’ll find another way to one-up-you, if you please!
      xxxxxxx J.


      • yes, please do. One-up-me any day, about something else!

        I was thinking of you today.
        I hope things went well!
        I’m so very glad they caught this before any permanent damage could be done.

        I have an eye exam scheduled for next week…I hope I don’t have to have another hold in my head! : )


  6. Knowing A LOT about this topic since I have had Narrow Angled Glaucoma for years, I hesitate to write. However, yes, IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE PAINLESS, it CAN come back and truly MOST PEOPLE have no trouble whatsoever with the procedure. I was just one of the unlucky ones but even so, am fine. There are cold medications you can take even though it says “do not take if you suffer from glaucoma.” Love, Laurie F.


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