The Symptoms of Glaucoma and How They Can Be Treated to Prevent Vision Loss
Maintaining eye health is important to preserve precious eyesight throughout a person’s lifetime. Knowing the signs and symptoms of glaucoma is helpful so you’ll know if it’s time to have a comprehensive eye exam to catch glaucoma early. Eye health is something that should not be left to chance.
The main risk factors for developing glaucoma are if a family member has glaucoma, if a person is over age 40 or if one is African-American. Sometimes glaucoma can begin even if a person is not in one of the higher risk groups. Symptoms experienced depend on which type of glaucoma a person is developing. There are two types of glaucoma; primary open-angle glaucoma and acute angle-closure glaucoma. Primary open-angle glaucoma is most common.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
The signs of primary open-angle glaucoma include a gradual loss of peripheral vision, generally in both eyes. The signs of acute angle-closure glaucoma are more pronounced and more noticeable by the patient. They include:
- Stinging or chronic eye pain, sometimes severe
- Suddenly noticing visual disturbances, especially in dim light
- Nausea or vomiting, especially if it happens along with eye pain
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Halos that appear around lights, which has also been described as rainbows around lights
- Eye redness that suddenly occurs
- Increase in eye pressure found during an exam
If a patient believes that glaucoma is starting to develop, it’s wise to schedule a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible. Catching glaucoma early can lead to effective treatments which can help to preserve vision. Once vision is lost due to glaucoma, it cannot be restored.
Treatments for Glaucoma
The first treatments normally chosen for glaucoma are medications. They can be eye drops or pills to lower and control eye pressure. If medication is not effective, surgery or laser procedures are sometimes recommended. Doctors may combine these treatment methods to see which are most effective for their patient.
Several types of laser surgery are available for glaucoma. They include Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty. Both of these are used to treat open-angle glaucoma. Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) is sometimes recommended for angle-closure glaucoma. If these are not effective, traditional forms of surgery are used, usually to control the drainage of fluids to lower eye pressure. It is always best to work closely with a doctor to find the most effective glaucoma treatment.