What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the specific type of glaucoma that you have. You should seek prompt medical attention as soon as you notice any symptoms of glaucoma. It is also important to get regular eye examinations, since open-angle glaucoma usually does not have symptoms until damage has already occurred.

Common symptoms of open-angle glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma exhibits no symptoms until you have already lost some vision. Loss of vision typically starts at the sides of your visual field, leading to tunnel vision, and progresses toward the center of your vision.

Common symptoms of angle-closure or acute glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma typically exhibits a sudden onset of symptoms. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Abdominal pain (stimulation of the vagus nerve)
  • Eye pain
  • Halos seen around lights
  • Headache accompanied by eye symptoms
  • Loss of vision or changes in vision
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Red, sore eyes (bloodshot eyes)

Common symptoms of congenital glaucoma

Congenital glaucoma is present at birth, although symptoms are not generally recognized until several months of age. These symptoms include:

  • Haze in the normally clear cornea (front of the eye)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Red, sore eyes (bloodshot eyes)
  • Swelling of one or both eyes

Common symptoms of secondary glaucoma

The symptoms of secondary glaucoma can be the same as either open-angle or angle-closure glaucoma, depending on the specific cause. Secondary glaucoma can result from certain medications, medical procedures, or other medical conditions.

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Halos seen around lights
  • Headache
  • Loss of vision or changes in vision
  • Nausea with or without vomiting


What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name for a number of conditions that damage the optic nerve, usually as a result of increased pressure within the eye that results when the naturally occurring fluid (aqueous humor) in the eye does not drain properly out of the eye. Slow drainage may occur with normal eye anatomy (open-angle glaucoma) or with structural problems in the drainage mechanism (angle-closure glaucoma)... Read more about glaucomaintroduction


What causes glaucoma?

Glaucoma is typically caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. This increase in pressure is generally due to an excess of naturally occurring fluid (aqueous humor) in the eye when the drainage mechanism cannot keep up with the rate of fluid production. However, the optic nerve damage typical of glaucoma can also occur without an increase in pressure within the eye. You can also have incr... Read more about glaucomacauses


How is glaucoma treated?

The best way to treat glaucoma is to make sure it is diagnosed early. The most common type of glaucoma has no symptoms until visual damage has already occurred. Treatment of glaucoma begins with getting regular eye examinations from a health care professional. Although glaucoma usually cannot be cured, all types of glaucoma can be treated. The goal of treatment is to prevent further damage from... Read more about glaucomatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Eyes and Vision

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