What Are the Main Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Dec 21, 2020

Many different types of glaucoma exist today, it’s important for you to know more about these types of diseases that may largely impact your vision. Here, we explain the main forms of glaucoma among people who have already developed some form of this disease.

Primary open-angle glaucoma, chronic open-angle glaucoma (COAG), open-angle glaucoma

All these names are synonyms for the same disease, which is the most usual type of glaucoma. You may not experience any symptoms before you realize that you have this condition. At the same time, you may lose a significant portion of your vision before finding out about the disease. The first signs can be losing your peripheral vision or side vision, which may be happening slowly, without warning signs.

Acute narrow-angle or closed-angle glaucoma

People often describe this glaucoma as the most painful experience when it comes to eye pain. It is followed by symptoms like:

  • Headaches (especially in the same part of the head where the eye is)
  • Eye redness
  • Severe throbbing eye pain
  • Foggy or blurry vision
  • Halos when the lights are around
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupil

This is a severe condition, and you must visit your doctor right away if you notice some of the mentioned symptoms. If not treated in a time period of 6 to 12 hours, the result may be permanent vision loss or permanently enlarged (dilated) pupil.

Congenital glaucoma in children

Congenital glaucoma in children appears in infants and during the first years of your baby’s life. The symptoms include:

  • Eyelid spasms, sensitivity to light, and tearing
  • An enlarged cornea and possible clouding of the usually transparent cornea
  • Habitual rubbing of the eyes and keeping the eyes closed often or squinting

Secondary glaucoma and some other forms

Secondary glaucoma and similar forms usually coincide with different kinds of symptoms that impact your vision. Eye pressure can be higher than usual on many different occasions, and this may cause many signs of discomfort among patients.

Symptoms that are part of this condition include the following:

  • Inflammation inside the eye (uveitis) that may result in seeing halos
  • Sensitivity to bright lights (photophobia)
  • Eye injuries like edema, edema, bleeding, or retinal detachment

These symptoms can worsen if you have a cataract, injury to your eye, or eye inflammation. The symptoms can also occur if you are using specific medications or steroids.

How to Know If You Have Glaucoma?

It is very simple to diagnose glaucoma with the tests that are specifically designed for diagnostics. Your doctor will apply drops that numb your eye before the examination with a device called a tonometer, which measures eye pressure.

If you have higher than usual eye pressure, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have glaucoma. It might be a symptom of ocular hypertension. Only if the doctor suspects that you may have a damaged optical nerve, it’s possible you may have glaucoma. To determine, the doctor will examine your side vision (peripheral vision) when the selected images (OCT) give the picture of your optic nerve.

High eye pressure doesn’t present the sign of glaucoma because people with normal eye pressure can also have glaucoma. It is important to tell your doctor if you have had refractive surgery because this can affect your eye pressure reading.

When a child has potential problems, the doctor may diagnose congenital glaucoma where the main symptom is a cloudy cornea. Most babies will have this examination at birth. For all others, the initial symptoms must result in immediate action in preventing vision loss and other eyesight problems.

When to Call the Doctor?

It is essential to call the eye doctor when you notice the symptoms of glaucoma. These initial symptoms are usually signs of eye problems that can be treated successfully if diagnosed on time.

You should call a doctor if:

  • Your eye is red and painful – This could be a sign inflammation, of acute narrow-angle glaucoma, infection, or other eye condition. In this case, you may require immediate medical assistance to prevent further eye damage or possible blindness.
  • You get tired, drowsy, or short of breath after you use drops for treating glaucoma – This could mean that the eye drops aggravate possible heart or lung problems.

It is very important to tell your eye doctor which medications you are taking because certain medications can cause possible closed-angle glaucoma attacks. The medicines for sinus, cold congestion, stomach, and intestinal problems are especially important because these can cause some obvious signs of glaucoma.

Unfortunately, it is a condition where you cannot get back the vision once you lose it, and that is why regular exams are so important to keep your eye vision intact and prevent possible larger problems with your eyesight. Glaucoma and other eye problems can be prevented. The nationally accredited doctors at Vision Center of New York provide patients comprehensive exams on state-of-the-art equipment which allows us to accurately detect eye disease and other abnormalities early. Call us today to book an appointment. Your vision is our mission.