What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight,” because most types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs. 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.

Chart Showing How Glaucoma Affects the Eye

Glaucoma is not a singular eye disease but is instead a term for several eye conditions that can damage your optic nerve. The optic nerve is the nerve that supplies visual information to your brain from your eyes. Glaucoma is usually (but not always) the result of abnormally high pressure inside the eye. Over time, the increased pressure can erode the optic nerve tissue, which may lead to vision loss or even blindness. If caught early, you may be able to prevent additional vision loss.


Do you have glaucoma in your family history?

You can prevent glaucoma with regular eye exams and by remaining watchful of these three subtle warning signs:

  1. Eye Pain. The onset of sudden eye pain and headaches behind the eyes and brow are primary signs of late-stage acute angle-closure glaucoma. The term “acute” refers to the sudden and irreversible damage to the optic nerve. If you experience eye pain, seek treatment immediately to prevent more severe vision loss and even blindness.
  2. Night Halos. Acute angle-closure glaucoma often causes a colored rainbow effect or night vision issues such as halos (or starbursts) and blurred vision around lights. This can be problematic for drivers with glaucoma who feel extreme pressure and sudden blindness as the pupil opens, especially at night or in low-lit environments.
  3. Nausea and vomiting. Nausea and vomiting often result when vision is distorted. However, acute angle-closure causes nausea and vomiting accompanied by severe eye pain, which slightly distinguishes symptoms from the stomach flu or other gastrointestinal ailments.

Treatment Options

Depending on its severity, glaucoma can be easily managed with eye drops. On a much more serious case, the scenario for treatment is surgery. However, it’s crucial to be on the lookout for symptoms and get checked regularly! Schedule your appointment today.


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