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How Do I Know If I Have Glaucoma?

It is estimated that 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half know they do.

Glaucoma is serious eye disease and the second leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the world. The two most common forms of glaucoma are Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma and Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma. 

What are the Symptoms of Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma is often called "the silent thief of sight" because it has no symptoms until permanent vision loss has occurred. Symptoms in late stages of the disease include:

  • Gradual loss of peripheral vision, usually in both eyes
  • Blank spots in your field of vision
  • Tunnel vision in the advanced stages

Regular eye exams are the key to detecting this type of glaucoma early enough to successfully treat your condition and prevent further progression. 

What are the Symptoms of Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma?

Angle-closure glaucoma is a rarer form of glaucoma, which develops very quickly and demands immediate medical attention.

In contrast with open-angle glaucoma, symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma are very noticeable and damage occurs quickly. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate care:

  • Eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting (accompanying the severe eye pain)
  • Sudden onset of visual disturbance, often in low light
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nausea 
  • Halos around lights
  • Reddening of the eye

Who Is at Risk of Developing Glaucoma? 

Since chronic forms of glaucoma can destroy your vision before any signs or symptoms appear, here is a list of higher risk factors:

  • Elevated intraocular (internal) eye pressure
  • Age - If you are over 40
  • Ethnic background - African Americans, Asians and Japanese have a higher risk
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Medical conditions - Such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Long-term corticosteroid use 

When to See a Doctor

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a comprehensive eye exam for all adults starting at age 40, and every three to five years after that if you do not have any glaucoma risk factors. 

If you have other risk factors or you are older than age 60, you should be screened every one to two years. If you are African-American, your doctor will likely recommend periodic eye exams starting between ages 20 and 39.

If you are at higher-risk for developing glaucoma or believe you have symptoms related to glaucoma, please contact your Vision Source eye professional today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. 

Author Vision Source — Published August 5, 2015

Posted In Eye Safety