Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, three million Americans have glaucoma, but only about half of them know that they have it.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindnessin the United States. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.
The most common form of glaucoma has no warning signs. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It’s important to have regular eye exams that include measurements of your eye pressure. If glaucoma is recognized early, vision loss can be slowed or prevented. If you have the condition, you’ll generally need treatment for the rest of your life.
SYMPTOMS OF GLAUCOMA
Chronic pen-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and develops very slowly. Symptoms include:
Patchy blind spots in your side or central vision, frequently in both eyes
Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is rare and can occur slowly or may develop rapidly with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye. The symptoms are:
- Severe headache
- Severe eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights
- Eye redness
If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually cause blindness. Even with treatment, about 15 percent of people with glaucoma become blind in at least one eye within 20 years.
WebMD recommends to seek immediate medical care if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Seeing halos around lights
- Vision loss
- Redness in the eye
- Eye that looks hazy (particularly in infants)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in the eye
- Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)