Can You Really Tell if You Have Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is considered the “silent thief of sight” because there are often no symptoms in the early course of the disease. Visual field loss (side vision loss) is not a symptom until late in the course of the disease. Rarely patients with fluctuating levels of intraocular pressure may have haziness of vision and see halos around lights, especially in the morning.
The presence of glaucoma symptoms can depend on two factors:
- The type of glaucoma you have: for example, open-angle or angle-closure
- The length of time you’ve knowingly or unknowingly have had the disease: the longer glaucoma goes untreated, the worse your vision will become
Type: Open-angle Glaucoma
With open-angle glaucoma there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. The trabecular meshwork, a sponge-like tissue that normally allows fluids to escape from the eye, becomes blocked. Fluid is trapped, leading to elevated eye pressure. Your eyes may appear normal. Some patients get slightly red eyes from the chronic use of eye drops.
Type: Angle-closure Glaucoma
This is a medical emergency! With acute angle-closure glaucoma, there is a sudden build-up of pressure because the iris obstructs part of the angle of the eye (angle-closure), preventing fluid escape. Symptoms are often extremely dramatic with the rapid onset of severe eye pain, headache, nausea, vomiting and visual blurring. The eyes of patients with acute angle-closure glaucoma will appear red, and the pupil of the eye may be large and nonreactive to light. The cornea may appear cloudy to the naked eye.
People with chronic angle-closure glaucoma may have the condition develop gradually. There are often no symptoms of this condition until serious damage has already occurred.
If it’s been a while since you had an eye exam, we encourage you to schedule one. Eye exams are the only way to know if you have glaucoma and undergo glaucoma treatment in Colorado Springs to preserve your vision. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam in Colorado Springs.