The Symptoms of Glaucoma

Symptoms of Glaucoma: What Are They?

To answer the question of what are the symptoms of glaucoma, it needs to be first known which type of glaucoma to know the glaucoma symptoms. This will cover the primary types and symptoms.

The Primary Types (compared to secondary) of Glaucoma

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG)
  • Primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG)
  • Normal tension glaucoma (NTG)

Low Pressure Glaucoma or Low-tension glaucoma (LTG) also called Normal-tension glaucoma (less common).

Closed-angle Glaucoma or Acute Glaucoma, also known as Acute Angle-closure Glaucoma.

Acute Angle Glaucoma Symptoms

Until recent years there has not been a consensus on the exact definition of acute angle closure glaucoma.

Acute angle closure is diagnosed when there are at least 2 of the following symptoms:

  • Ocular pain
  • nausea/vomiting
  • a history of intermittent blurring of vision with halos

Along with at least 3 of the following signs:

  • IOP greater than 21 mm Hg
  • conjunctival injection
  • corneal epithelial edema
  • mid-dilated nonreactive pupil
  • shallower chamber in the presence of occlusion

The symptoms of acute angel glaucoma involve the fluid of the aqueous humor. The aqueous humor is created by the ciliary bodies within the eye. This fluid can no longer pass through the network of tissue between the iris and cornea called the drainage angle. Thus it is called acute (def: sudden and severe onset) angle (the tissues called the drainage angle) glaucoma.

When the fluid cannot flow away, the pressure builds, affecting both the retina and the optic nerve.

Onset

The onset involves short duration episodes. These are the warning signs. Failure to heed these signs and give attention to the eyes can result in permanent damage later on.

These initial symptoms can happen weeks or even months before fully developed acute glaucoma occurs.

Acute Angle Glaucoma Symptoms

Initial onset symptoms include:

  • Light becomes dim, usually in the evening
  • Vision becomes blurred
  • You may see halos around lights
  • The cornea begins to look hazy
  • Pain in the eye
  • Redness in the eye

The blurry vision will last as long as the blockage continues.

The haziness in the cornea is the result of the aqueous humor being forced into the eye.

Full onset symptoms include:

The same as above but more severe and the symptoms are continuous.

  • Pain may be sever
  • Pain may be felt in the head in addition to the eyes
  • Extreme weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cornea appears hazy or gray
  • Eyeball painful and hard to the touch

Risk Factors

  • ages between 40 and 65: the risk is one person in 1000
  • Over 65: one in 500 will develop glaucoma
  • Only half will get treatment in response to the symptoms before it is fully developed
  • It runs in families
  • More often in those who are farsighted

If you are farsighted, over 40 and have 2 or more relatives who have or had glaucoma, you should be aware of the symptoms.

Open Angle Glaucoma

Open angle or chronic glaucoma or chronic glaucoma develops over a longer period of time, usually over years.

The blockage develops slowly and so does the build up of aqueous humor and the resulting pressure.

The pressure in tern will begin to affect the nerve fibers and the blood supply to both the optic nerve and retina.

Because of how long the onset for this takes, it is often only detected by eye examination. This is why it is essential that we encourage our families to get regular check ups at the eye doctor. You may be thinking that you are paying to find out that nothing is wrong.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is like insurance. You will never need it until you do not have it. Your visit to the eye doctor is like insurance. The difference is that your eyes are not replaceable.

Open Angle Glaucoma Symptoms

The symptoms are not usually noticed because of the slow progression of the disease.

  • loss of peripheral, usually in one eye first near the nose
  • gradual additional peripheral vision loss
  • the other eye begins to lose peripheral vision
  • finally, awareness of the loss in vision but by then the vision loss is permanent

Risk Factors

    Over the age of 40, only 10 to 20 per 1000 will get it in the United States
  • In Asian Countries, half of those diagnosed will have open angle glaucoma.
  • Two family members who have or had glaucoma increase the risk of it developing

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