Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of sight because in its early stages, there is no pain or any other symptoms. It can steal your vision before you even know you have the disease.
Disorder in which the pressure within the eye is increased. It results from the excess production of fluid within the front of the eye. Normally, the fluid produced is absorbed at the same rate. When this balance is upset, pressure may build up in the eye. If the abnormally high pressure is not reduced damage to the nerve of the eye (optic nerve) can occur resulting in the loss of sight.
The most common types of glaucoma — primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma — have completely different symptoms.
Primary open-angle glaucoma signs and symptoms include:
Gradual loss of peripheral vision, usually in both eyes
Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
Acute angle-closure glaucoma signs and symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting (accompanying the severe eye pain)
Sudden onset of visual disturbance, often in low light
Halos around lights
Reddening of the eye
Both open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma can be primary or secondary conditions. They’re called primary when the cause is unknown and secondary when the condition can be traced to a known cause, such as eye injury, medications, certain eye conditions, inflammation, tumor, advanced cataract or diabetes. In secondary glaucoma, the signs and symptoms can include those of the primary condition as well as typical glaucoma symptoms.
Specific Tests: Pressure in the eye must be measured
When to see a doctor
Don’t wait for noticeable eye problems. Primary open-angle glaucoma gives few warning signs until permanent damage has already occurred. Regular eye exams are the key to detecting glaucoma early enough to successfully treat your condition and prevent further progression of your condition.
In addition, be aware that a severe headache or pain in your eye, nausea, blurred vision, or halos around lights may be the symptoms of an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack. If you experience some or several of these symptoms together, seek immediate care at an emergency room or at an eye doctor’s (ophthalmologist’s) office right away.
Treatment consists of glaucoma medications, and/or surgery. The medications include eye drops and oral medications. The most common eye drops are beta-blockers (levobunolol/Betagan, timolol/Timoptic, betaxolol/Betoptic, metipranolol/OptiPranolol), alpha-agonists (apraclonidine/Iopidine, brimonidine/Alphagan), carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (dorzolamide/Trusopt, brinzolamide/Azopt), prostaglandins (latanoprost/Xalatan, bimatoprost/Lumigan, travoprost/Travatan), miotic or cholinergic drugs (pilocarpine/Pilopine, carbachol/Isopto Carbachol), and epinephrine agents (dipivefrin/Propine). The oral medications most commonly used are carbonic anhydrase inhibitors: acetazolamide/Diamox and methazolamide/Neptazane