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Symptoms of Glaucoma

In the early stages of the disease, most cases of open-angle glaucoma do not have any noticeable signs or symptoms. Vision stays normal and there is no pain. But, even without symptoms, irreversible damage can be happening to your optic nerve. If glaucoma remains untreated for a long period of time, you may begin to notice some symptoms. Some cases of angle-closure glaucoma, especially during an acute attack, are associated with symptoms, which are discussed below.

The main symptom of glaucoma is loss of peripheral vision. This means that you can see things clearly in front of you, but objects to the side and out of the corner of your eye may be missed. As the disease progresses, it may seem as though you are looking through a tunnel. Over time, the remaining forward vision may decrease and the field of vision narrows until blindness results.

The Eye

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Depending on the type of glaucoma you have, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Blind spots
  • Blurred vision
  • Halos around lights
  • Vague eye aching or stinging
  • Inability to adjust the eye to darkened rooms
  • Difficulty focusing on close work
  • Loss of side peripheral vision
  • Tunnel vision
  • Fluctuating vision

More serious symptoms associated with acute angle-closure glaucoma (a medical emergency) that require immediate medical attention include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe eye pain
  • Facial pain
  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Redness and swelling of the eye
  • Pupil not reacting to light
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Tearing
  • Nausea or vomiting
REFERENCES:

Angle-closure glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T901114/Angle-closure-glaucoma. Updated July 15, 2016. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts. Updated September 2015. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Glaucoma symptoms. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/glaucoma-symptoms. Updated March 1, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114157/Open-angle-glaucoma. Updated January 24, 2018. Accessed February 2, 2018.

Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/symptoms-of-angle-closure-glaucoma.php. Updated September 25, 2015. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/symptoms-of-primary-open-angle-glaucoma.php. Updated October 29, 2017. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Weinreb RN, Khaw PT. Primary open-angle glaucoma. Lancet. 2004;363(9422):1711-1720.

Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 3/15/2015