What is the Anterior Chamber?
The eye’s anterior chamber is located between the iris and the innermost corneal surface.1 It is filled with fluid called aqueous humor that is secreted by the ciliary body.2
Several conditions result from a dysfunction (typically caused by fluid drainage issues) like glaucoma (serious eye disease) and hyphema (hemorrhage due to trauma).3
- The anterior (front) chamber is one of three fluid-filled spaces in the eye, located between the iris and the cornea.
- It allows fluid to flow to the eye to carry out vital functions.
- Disruptions to the fluid that flows from this chamber can lead to visual complications.
Understanding the Anterior Chamber
There are three chambers of the eye, each filled with fluid:
- The anterior chamber (between the cornea and the iris and filled with aqueous humor)4
- The posterior chamber (between the iris, zonules and the lens and filled with aqueous humor)4
- The vitreous chamber (between the lens and the retina and filled with vitreous humor)4
The anterior chamber aqueous humor provides nutrients to the ocular surface in order to allow the cornea and iris to carry out their respective functions of reflecting and filtering light that enters the eye.5
Anterior Chamber Complications
Disruptions to the aqueous humor inside can lead to complications that affect eye sight. In this case, your eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) will evaluate your symptoms and recommend an effective treatment plan.6
Experts believe that the most common types of glaucoma (a group of eye diseases that can lead to blindness) are caused by high eye pressure.6 When there is dysfunction in the anterior chamber, aqueous fluid can build up. Then, the build-up can lead to elevated pressure in the eye.7
Hyphema is the accumulation of red blood cells within the anterior chamber.7 Hyphemas can result from blunt force trauma to the eyeball or after eye surgery, such as cataract surgery.
What’s more, patients with hyphemas typically complain of blurry vision and can see that there is blood in their eyes. For that reason, your eye doctor will determine the grade based on the amount of blood present in the front chamber.8
If a cataract becomes too large, then it can narrow the front chamber. Under those circumstances, the narrowing can disrupt the aqueous humor flow and lead to high eye pressure. Therefore, your eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) may recommend cataract surgery.
In the case of complicated cataract surgery, the front chamber can be used to implant an anterior chamber intraocular lens (ACIOL).