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Glaucoma Symptoms: What are the Signs You Should Watch Out for?

Glaucoma Symptoms: What are the Signs You Should Watch Out for?

The progression of glaucoma is slow. Glaucoma symptoms occur so gradually that a person hardly ever notices any changes until the disease has reached its advanced stages.

The damages of glaucoma – which is severely impaired vision and blindness – are not reversible, which is why early detection is very important. But detection of glaucoma can be difficult especially that its most common form does not show any noticeable symptoms.

Types of Glaucoma: What are the Differences in Causes

The Symptoms of Different Types of Glaucoma

There are different types of glaucoma and symptoms may vary depending on what kind of glaucoma a person has.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (PAOG) is the most common type of glaucoma. Usually, people with PAOG do not experience any noticeable symptoms. This is why glaucoma is dubbed as the “silent thief of sight.”

People with PAOG start manifesting impairment in the peripheral vision or side vision. The sides of what a person sees starts becoming blurry, patchy, or dark. Most of the time, a person will start noticing that they are starting to go blind once they are experiencing tunnel vision.

Tunnel vision is when the person can only see what is in front and ahead, while their peripheral vision is either blurred or completely dark, just like what one sees when entering a tunnel.

Gradual loss of peripheral vision usually occurs in both eyes.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Unlike PAOG, angle-closure glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma is less common and manifests obvious symptoms.

Angle-closure glaucoma may progress gradually (chronic angle-closure glaucoma) or occur suddenly (acute angle-closure glaucoma). The sudden presentation of symptoms is called an angle-closure attack. When an attack occurs, it usually only affects one eye, but the other eye is also at risk.

Symptoms of Angle Closure Glaucoma include:

  • Unfocused field of vision or vision looking dim, blurred, and or hazy
  • Recurring mild pain around or in the eyes
  • Headaches that happen from time to time
  • Seeing halos or bright circles or rings around lights

A person might be experiencing an angle-closure attack if there is:

  • Redness and pain in the eyes
  • Sudden dizziness and vomiting
  • Severe headache
  • Excessive tearing or watering
  • Sudden Blurring of Vision
  • Sudden loss of vision

Acute angle-closure glaucoma qualifies as a medical emergency and should be treated immediately as this can cause irreversible damage

Warning Signs of Glaucoma

Most of the time, glaucoma does not show any signs and symptoms. But there are some warning signs that can help you detect glaucoma in its early stages.

The symptoms listed do not necessarily mean a person has glaucoma. But this can be an indication that they might have the disease. If a person is experiencing more than one of these symptoms, visit an eye doctor as soon as possible for a complete eye check-up.

  • Figures and shapes appear like a ghost
  • Watery eyes or tearing up too much
  • Dry eyes paired with a burning and itching sensation
  • Pain around the eyes occur from time to time
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects
  • Change in the color of the iris
  • Squinting and blinking due to unusual light sensitivity
  • Difficulty adjusting to dark rooms

If a person is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could mean that there is a serious problem. Consult a doctor or call for emergency immediately.

  • Sudden loss of vision even in just one eye
  • Flashes of light appear
  • The sudden appearance of black spots in the visual field
  • Seeing halos or rainbows around light
  • Sudden blurring of vision

Glaucoma Test

Glaucoma symptoms can be an indication of other eye diseases, which is why the only sure way to know if a person has glaucoma is through a complete eye check-up.

Your eye doctor will check the pressure in your eye and check for any damages to the optic nerve. They will also inspect the eyes’ drainage and measure the thickness of your cornea.

Although any damages caused by glaucoma can no longer be reversed, its progression can be slowed down. Treatment and management of glaucoma symptoms can allow a person with glaucoma to live a normal life and significantly lower the possibility of complete vision loss.

How to Prevent Glaucoma: Lifestyle Changes and Tips

Key Takeaways

Glaucoma symptoms are usually not noticeable which makes it difficult to detect during its early stages. Glaucoma symptoms depend on the kind of glaucoma a person has. Warning signs can help a person detect glaucoma early. But the only way to know if you have the disease is to have a complete eye check-up with your eye doctor.

Learn more about Glaucoma here.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Glaucoma, https://www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/glaucoma, Accessed January 26, 2021

Glaucoma, https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/glaucoma?sso=y, Accessed January 26, 2021

What are the Signs of Angle Closure Glaucoma? https://eye.keckmedicine.org/what-signs-angle-closure-glaucoma/, Accessed January 26, 2021

What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma? https://www.glaucoma.org/gleams/what-are-the-symptoms-of-glaucoma.php, Accessed January 26, 2021

What Are Common Glaucoma Symptoms? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/glaucoma-symptoms, Accessed January 26, 2021

Glaucoma: Signs & Symptoms, https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma/symptoms-and-signs, Accessed January 26, 2021

Glaucoma, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839, Accessed January 26, 2021

 

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Written by Hazel Caingcoy Updated May 21
Medically reviewed by Victor Ephraime V. Paulino, MD, DPBO