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What Does Glaucoma Vision Look Like?: Understanding Your Condition

What Causes Glaucoma?|Types of Glaucoma|Symptoms + Warning Signs|Treatment + Prevention
What Does Glaucoma Vision Look Like?: Understanding Your Condition

What does glaucoma vision look like? Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending signals to our brain so that we can see. Glaucoma is common in people who are over the age of 50 but it can also happen to other age groups and even children. It is often associated with an increase in the pressure inside the eyes caused by the eye’s drainage system not working efficiently.

What Does Glaucoma Vision Look Like?

People with glaucoma often complain of loss of peripheral vision or side vision. What does glaucoma vision look like? It looks like seeing through a tunnel. The central vision is often intact but the side vision has noticeable blank spots.

what does glaucoma vision look like

 

What Causes Glaucoma?

What causes glaucoma is not yet known. Increased pressure inside the eyes is the usual cause of optic nerve damage but there is a type of glaucoma that occurs even if intraocular pressure is normal.

Although glaucoma can occur in anyone, some people are more at risk of developing the disease. Risk factors for glaucoma include:

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • African, Hispanic, or Asian descent
  • Old age
  • Physical eye injury
  • Pre-existing eye conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Use of steroids
  • Nearsightedness and farsightedness
  • A thin cornea

Types of Glaucoma

There are different types of glaucoma each having their own set of causes and symptoms. Treatment and management usually depend on what type of glaucoma a person has. The general classification of glaucoma are:

  • Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
  • Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma
  • Normal-Tension Glaucoma
  • Childhood Glaucoma

Glaucoma can also be classified depending on what causes it:

  • Pseudoexfoliative Glaucoma
  • Pigmentary Glaucoma
  • Traumatic Glaucoma
  • Steroid-Induced Glaucoma
  • Neovascular glaucoma
  • Uveitic glaucoma

Symptoms + Warning Signs

What does glaucoma vision look like? During its early stages, glaucoma usually does not show any signs and symptoms. However, a certain type of glaucoma called acute angle-closure glaucoma causes a sudden onset of symptoms called an angle-closure attack.

This type of glaucoma is treated as a medical emergency and the person should be rushed to the emergency room if they will experience any symptoms.

Symptoms of glaucoma include:

  • Blanks spots in the peripheral vision
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Halos and glares
  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Pain around the eyes

Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma is dubbed as the “silent thief of sight” due to its lack of noticeable symptoms.

Warning Signs of Glaucoma

Although glaucoma is difficult to detect without the appropriate eye examination, there are some warning signs that we can look out for. Make sure to get a comprehensive eye exam when you experience more than one of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty adjusting to the light
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Color change in the iris
  • Pain in the eye
  • Tearing too much
  • Difficulty in focusing vision
  • Unusual light sensitivity
  • Dry eyes with a burning and itching sensation

Treatment + Prevention

Glaucoma Treatment

There is no cure to glaucoma but blindness from the disease can be prevented. If glaucoma is detected early, eye drops are used to either manage the production of fluid inside the eyes or aid in the drainage of the fluid inside the eyes. The goal of eye drops is to prevent increased pressure inside the eyes.

Eye drops used for glaucoma include:

  • Alpha Adrenergic Agonists
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
  • Miotics
  • Prostaglandin Analogs
  • Rho Kinase Inhibitors
  • Combination of eye drops

If glaucoma can no longer be managed using eye drops and medication, surgery and laser surgery can be used. Vision loss due to glaucoma is generally irreversible. The goal of surgery is to prevent total blindness and further vision loss.

Surgery and laser procedures for glaucoma include:

  • MIGS (Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery)
  • Cyclodiode Laser Treatment
  • Laser Peripheral Iridotomy
  • Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
  • Implantation of Glaucoma Drainage Devices (GDD)
  • Trabeculectomy

Preventing Glaucoma

Because genes and lifestyle are factors that play a role in developing glaucoma, glaucoma can be difficult to prevent. In general, glaucoma cannot be prevented but there is something we can do to delay the onset, slow the progression and mitigate the effects of glaucoma.

  • Eat healthily
  • Maintain a good weight
  • Exercise regularly and safely
  • Protect your eyes from injury
  • Avoid too much caffeine
  • Avoid smoking
  • Have regular comprehensive eye check-ups
  • Know if you are at risk of developing glaucoma
  • Take prescribed eye drops religiously

Key Takeaways

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that can cause blindness if not detected or treated early.

Glaucoma is generally caused by an increase in the eye’s pressure, which results in the damage of the optic nerve. The condition can happen to anyone but it usually occurs in old people. It can go undetected for a while because it does not have noticeable symptoms.

Glaucoma treatment cannot cure vision loss caused by the disease, but it can prevent further damage and even total blindness.

Learn more about Glaucoma here.

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

Sources

Glaucoma, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839, Accessed February 4, 2021

Don’t Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight!, https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/glaucoma-awareness.html, Accessed February 4, 2021

Glaucoma: Treatment & Drugs, https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma/treatment-and-drugs, Accessed February 4, 2021

Glaucoma Treatments, https://glaucoma.org.au/what-is-glaucoma/glaucoma-treatments, Accessed February 4, 2021

Glaucoma Medications and their side effects, https://www.glaucoma.org/gleams/glaucoma-medications-and-their-side-effects.php, Accessed February 4, 2021

Types of Glaucoma, https://dmei.org/services-specialties/glaucoma/types-of-glaucoma/, Accessed February 4, 2021

What are the different types of Glaucoma, https://visionaware.org/your-eye-condition/glaucoma/the-different-types-of-glaucoma/, Accessed February 4, 2021

Risk Factors of Glaucoma, https://glaucoma.org.au/what-is-glaucoma/risk-factors-for-glaucoma, Accessed February 4, 2021

Risk Factors for Glaucoma, https://visionaware.org/your-eye-condition/glaucoma/risk-factors/, Accessed February 4, 2021

What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?, https://www.glaucoma.org/gleams/what-are-the-symptoms-of-glaucoma.php, Accessed February 4, 2021

What Are Common Glaucoma Symptoms?, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/glaucoma-symptoms, Accessed February 4, 2021

Glaucoma: Signs & Symptoms, https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma/symptoms-and-signs, Accessed February 4, 2021

 

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