3 Common Warning Signs of Glaucoma

May 7th 2016

Taking preventative measures by scheduling regular eye exams and seeking immediate medical attention for any acute or worrying symptoms can help to ensure that the disease is caught in time for treatment to be effective. Glaucoma is treated with medications and procedures that are designed to minimize eye pressure. Later-stage glaucoma tends to be more difficult to treat, as reducing the pressure becomes increasingly challenging the longer the condition continues. However, prescription eye drops, laser surgery and oral medications are often effective in treating early-stage glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma.

Vision Loss

One of the most common signs of primary open-angle glaucoma is extremely gradual vision loss. This symptom may not be noticeable until damage has already occurred, however, which is why it is important for individuals aged 40 and over to schedule regular eye exams. Because of the unobtrusive nature of open-angle glaucoma, the condition is often referred to as a silent thief of sight.

Peripheral vision loss, also referred to as tunnel vision, is a common warning sign of both primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Individuals with peripheral vision loss often experience the sensation of looking through a tube or tunnel. Additional symptoms of tunnel vision include balancing difficulties and an inability to focus in dimly-lit environments.

Blurriness

While blurred vision may indicate either primary open-angle glaucoma or angle-closure glaucoma, the main difference is that it tends to come on suddenly with angle-closure glaucoma, and gradually with open-angle glaucoma. Individuals with angle-closure glaucoma may also see halos when looking at bright lights or lighted objects, particularly in wet conditions.

Eye Pain

Acute angle-closure glaucoma can also cause severe eye pain and redness in the affected eye. Eye pain and inflammation can also be caused by eye injuries or advanced cataracts, so it is important for sufferers to seek immediate medical attention in the event of unexplained symptoms. In certain cases, severe nausea or vomiting may accompany eye pain caused by acute angle-closure glaucoma, and these symptoms make it even more vital to seek immediate medical advice.

Conclusion

Glaucoma is an eye disease that most often affects older individuals. The condition develops when the optic nerve becomes damaged, and it can lead to total loss of vision if left untreated. The two most common types of glaucoma are primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma typically causes mild symptoms that develop over a long period, particularly in its early stages, while angle-closure glaucoma more frequently causes acute, severe symptoms. Understanding the warning signs of both types of glaucoma can allow early detection and immediate treatment, which may help to prevent irreversible vision loss.

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