Have you been having trouble with your peripheral vision lately? Noticing halos around lights at night? Experiencing frequent headaches behind your eyes? These could be glaucoma symptoms, a serious eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” because there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. By the time you notice vision loss, glaucoma may have caused significant damage. The good news is that if caught early, glaucoma can often be managed well with treatment like eye drops. So get to know the signs of glaucoma and have regular eye exams—especially after age 60, when your risk increases. Vision is precious, so make sure to safeguard one of your most valuable gifts. Spotting glaucoma early could save your sight.
Recognizing the Common Signs of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, which carries visual information from your eye to your brain. The most common form is open-angle glaucoma, which often has no symptoms at first. That’s why regular eye exams are so important, especially as you get older. Early detection is key to preventing vision loss.
Some signs to watch for include:
- Blurry vision or vision loss. As glaucoma progresses, you may notice blind spots in your peripheral (side) vision or tunnel vision.
- Eye pain. While glaucoma itself usually causes no pain, a sudden onset of eye pain could signal high eye pressure and potential optic nerve damage. See an eye doctor right away.
- Red eyes. If your eyes become red and irritated, it could indicate high eye pressure. Again, contact your eye doctor immediately.
- Seeing halos around lights. As glaucoma worsens, you may see rainbow-colored rings around lights. This is caused by fluid buildup in the eye.
The good news is, glaucoma can often be managed with prescription eye drops to control eye pressure and slow the progression. In more advanced cases, laser treatment or microsurgery may be options to help prevent further vision loss. The key is catching it early through regular eye exams, especially if you’re over 60 years of age. Your sight is worth protecting, so make that call today to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional.
When to See Your Doctor About Potential Glaucoma Symptoms
The signs of glaucoma can be subtle at first, but catching them early is critical to protecting your vision. Pay attention to these common symptoms:
Vision changes. Do straight lines look crooked or wavy? Is your peripheral (side) vision decreasing? Glaucoma often starts by impacting peripheral and night vision. See an eye doctor right away if you notice any vision loss.
Eye pain. Feeling pressure or pain in or around your eyes can be a symptom of glaucoma. The pressure from built-up eye fluid may cause an ache behind your eyes or in your temples.
Red eyes. If your eyes frequently look bloodshot or irritated, it could indicate high eye pressure and glaucoma. Not all red eyes are caused by glaucoma, but frequent or persistent redness warrants an exam.
Nausea or vomiting. In rare cases, the high eye pressure from glaucoma can lead to nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision. This is a medical emergency and you need to call your doctor or an ambulance immediately.
Eye exams. The only way to diagnose glaucoma early on is through a comprehensive eye exam. After age 60, get a glaucoma screening every 1-2 years. High risk groups like African Americans should start screenings at age 40. Catching glaucoma early is the best way to prevent vision loss and stay ahead of this sight-stealing disease.
Your vision is too precious to ignore. Be vigilant and get regular eye care—it could save your sight. If you notice any symptoms, call your eye doctor right away for an exam. Together, through awareness and action, we can work to prevent glaucoma and vision loss.