Glaucoma is the term used to describe a group of eye disorders which will eventually cause blindness. There are two common types of glaucoma: open-angle and acute angle-closure. Both types have their own unique symptoms.
Both types cause irreversible damage which can be treated if detected early. Glaucoma can be prevented with regular eye exams.
Here are several warning signs of both types of glaucoma:
- Sudden Eye Pain: Sudden eye pain accompanied by a headache behind the eyes is a sign of late-stage acute angle-closure glaucoma. Seek treatment immediately.
- Sudden changes in vision: If you experience a sudden change in your vision, make an appointment with your eye doctor. These changes could be a sign of retinal damage or an early sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma.
- Redness or swelling: If you have bloodshot or swollen eyes, it could be a symptom of pressure buildup behind your eye. This is another sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma. The eye pressure you feel is caused when the iris becomes inflamed.
- Nausea: While nausea is most commonly linked to stomach problems, it can also be caused by impaired vision. If you have eye pain accompanied by vomiting and nausea, this could be a sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma. The eye pain will most likely be in the form of a headache; often, this headache and upset stomach combination is mistaken for the flu. However, if it lasts for more than two weeks, it could be a vision problem and should be checked out by a medical professional.
- Tunnel Vision: Tunnel vision is a narrowing of your peripheral vision; it literally seems as if you are looking through a tunnel. Typically, tunnel vision occurs during the late stages of primary open-angle glaucoma. It will hinder your ability to see the edges or corners of anything you look at directly. Often people don’t realize their sight is becoming limited or narrowing until the late stages of the disease. If you notice any changes to your peripheral vision it’s important to see your eye doctor right away.
- Blurry Vision: While blurry vision is usually just an indication of poor eyesight, something which can be cured with glasses or a new prescription, it can also be a sign of acute angle-closure glaucoma. If your vision becomes blurrier as time goes by, this could be a sign. Generally, this gradual decline doesn’t present itself until the later stages of the disease, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as you notice your vision becoming blurry.
- Halos: Many people will notice halos when they drive at night. They will begin to have trouble seeing clearly or see a rainbow-type effect when headlights shine into their eyes. This may be accompanied by painful headaches due to extreme pressure behind the eyes.
- Physical Changes: Usually, we cannot detect glaucoma with the naked eye, but there can be a gradual change in the appearance of your eyes, which could be an early sign of glaucoma. People with acute angle-closure glaucoma may notice a reddish tint to their eyeballs or they may notice they’ve developed larger pupils that won’t dilate in light. Your cornea may also look cloudy or swollen. If you see any of these changes, make sure to seek treatment right away.
Regular eye exams can help you prevent glaucoma, but if you notice any of these signs, be sure to make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.