Glaucoma – Symptoms of Glaucoma

There are two major types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and acute closed-angle glaucoma. Most glaucoma patients have open-angle glaucoma. There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of open-angle glaucoma. The first sign is usually loss of vision, which is why the disease is sometimes referred to as the “sneak thief of sight.” Vision loss caused by glaucoma cannot be restored.

Primary open-angle glaucoma progresses with few or no symptoms until the condition reaches an advanced stage. As increased eye pressure continues to damage your optic nerve, you lose more and more of your peripheral vision. If glaucoma is left untreated, you can develop tunnel vision and eventually lose all sight. Open-angle glaucoma usually affects both eyes, although at first you may have vision loss in just one eye.

Chronic glaucoma is insidious. If the pressure increases slowly, it will not produce any symptoms until it has done irreversible damage. In such cases, people may notice visual problems at first only when light is dim. Patients are often sensitive to glare. Most people with glaucoma do not notice symptoms until they begin to have significant vision loss. As optic nerve fibers are damaged by glaucoma, small blind spots may begin to develop, usually in the peripheral or side vision.

Congenital glaucoma It can be difficult to recognise symptoms of congenital glaucoma. If your baby or child has cloudy, white, hazy, enlarged or protruding eyes you should make an appointment to see your doctor immediately.
Warning signs of glaucoma are different for each form. Glaucoma is usually not noticeable until significant damage has been done to the optic nerves. With open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, an increase in intraocular pressure and loss in peripheral vision are key signs. A tonometer is an instrument that measures pressure inside the eye. It can show abnormal pressure that causes damage to optic nerves.

Closed-angle glaucoma, sometimes known as acute glaucoma, differs from open-angle in that the symptoms typically occur suddenly (although not always). The symptoms may include blurred vision, formation of halos around lights at night, pain and redness in the eye, and swelling and clouding of the cornea (the typically clear and transparent coating layer of the outer eyeball). The pain experienced can be so intense that it may cause nausea and vomiting or a headache.

It consists of a 10-item scale developed from the symptom checklist that was created for the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS). All items in the GSS address eye complaints, some of a non-visual nature and some of a visual nature, common to patients with glaucoma. The Glaucoma Symptom Scale measures symptoms of glaucoma as well as symptoms of glaucoma treatment. It provides a valid and reliable estimate of symptoms associated with glaucoma the normal score is 100 and implies absence of all glaucoma related symptoms.

Acute glaucoma tends to come on very quickly. Symptoms include pain and blurred vision. Some people also feel sick, faint and vomit. In the early stages you may see misty rainbow coloured rings around white lights. If you think you are having an attack of acute glaucoma, you should go to hospital immediately.

Open angle glaucoma usually produces slow loss of peripheral vision. There are often blind spots. Closed angle glaucoma usually produce sudden eye pain or headache. There may be nausea and vomiting. The eye is red, and there is blurred vision. Colored halos appear around bright objects.