What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is rise of intraocular pressure (the pressure inside the eyeball due to presence of fluid inside the eyeball) of eyes and resultant damage to optic nerve and its symptoms thereby. Intraocular pressure of 21 mm of Hg or higher is usually considered glaucoma, as it can cause damage to optic nerve. Due to glaucoma, there may be damage to optic nerve (due to pressure on the nerve fibers) which may ultimately lead to blindness, if left untreated or if not properly managed. In many countries, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness (preventable blindness). Glaucoma can affect anyone at any age; however, it is more commonly seen in older adults. Glaucoma can occur suddenly (acute angle-closure glaucoma) or more commonly it is gradual (open-angle glaucoma) and the patient may not even notice the vision changes and it may be late and in advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed.id-100390816

We need to be very careful about glaucoma, because the vision loss due to glaucoma is not reversible. Hence, it is important to get regular eye check done by your eye doctor. Just like blood pressure check done regularly, eye pressure (intraocular pressure) check also should be done regularly. Because, if glaucoma is found early, it can be prevented or controlled and damage to eye/vision prevented.

What are the signs and symptoms of glaucoma?

The signs and symptoms of glaucoma depends on the type of glaucoma, (1) open-angle glaucoma and (2) acute angle-closure glaucoma.

Symptoms of open angle glaucoma:

  • Symptoms develop gradually, may be over years and the patient may not notice or may ignore the symptoms of gradual loss/disturbance of vision. By the time it is diagnosed, it may already be in advanced stage of disease with irreversible damage to vision
  • Patchy blind spots in your field of vision, may be in peripheral field or in central field of vision
  • In advanced stage cylindrical or tunnel vision may develop

Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma:

  • Pain in the eye, it may be in one eye or both eyes, which is less common
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurring of vision
  • Redness of eye
  • Halos around eye
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency and need prompt treatment to reduce intraocular pressure, to prevent damage to optic nerve.

If glaucoma is not treated, it eventually leads to blindness. Even with treatment approximately 15 percent patients of glaucoma eventually become blind in 20 years, at least in one eye. Hence, glaucoma should be taken seriously and managed well to prevent blindness.


Image courtesy of [everydayplus] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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