What are the Symptoms and Complications of Glaucoma

ID-100190677Approximately 90% of cases of glaucoma are of open angle type and the remaining 10% are closed angle type of glaucoma. Open angle and closed angle glaucoma generally presents with different set of symptoms.

Symptoms of closed angle glaucoma:

Closed angle glaucoma or angle closure glaucoma, generally present with sudden onset of symptoms, such as

  • Sudden onset of eye pain, which may be severe in nature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden onset of visual disturbances, such as blurring of vision, halos around lights, vision problem in low light
  • Redness of eyes
  • The intra-ocular pressure generally very high, more than 30 mm of Hg
  • All the symptoms appear suddenly, without any prior similar history

Symptoms of open angle glaucoma generally appear gradually and have following symptoms:

  • Gradual loss of vision, usually peripheral vision and commonly in both the eyes
  • In advanced cases there is tunnel vision (i.e. the patient feel as if he/she is looking through a tunnel)
  • The symptoms of open angle glaucoma develop slowly over a long time

Both types of glaucoma (open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma) can be of primary and secondary types. They are called “primary” when the cause of rise in intra ocular pressure is not known and called secondary, when rise in intra ocular pressure is secondary to another disease.

When to see a doctor?

Primary open angle glaucoma usually has no symptoms until late and already there is optic nerve damage of some degree. Therefore, it is better not to wait for symptoms and it is important to undergo regular and routine eye check-ups by eye surgeons. Regular eye examination is the only way to prevent complications due to open angle glaucoma. American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends eye examination for everybody at the age of 40 years and there after every three to five years if you do not have any risk factors of glaucoma and every year after age of 40 years, if you have risk factors of glaucoma. If you are over 60 years and have some risk factors, get eye examination done every year. African Americans are at higher risk of developing glaucoma and need more frequent eye examinations.

What are the complications of glaucoma?

If glaucoma is not treated optimally, it may lead to complications such as

  • Tunnel vision
  • Blind spots in your peripheral visual field
  • Total and permanent blindness, if not managed optimally

“Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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