In the early stages of the disease, most cases of open-angle glaucoma present no noticeable signs or symptoms. Vision stays normal and there is no pain. But, even without symptoms, irreversible damage can be happening to your optic nerve. If glaucoma remains untreated for a long period of time, you may begin to notice some symptoms. Some cases of angle-closure glaucoma, especially during an acute attack, are associated with symptoms, which are discussed below.
The main symptom of glaucoma is loss of peripheral vision. This means that you can see things clearly in front of you, but objects to the side and out of the corner of your eye may be missed. As the disease progresses, it may seem as though you are looking through a tunnel. Over time, the remaining forward vision may decrease and the field of vision narrow until blindness results.
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Depending on the type of glaucoma you have, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
More serious symptoms associated with acute angle-closure glaucoma (a medical emergency) that requires immediate medical attention include, but are not limited to:
Angle-closure glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T901114/Angle-closure-glaucoma. Updated July 15, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts. Accessed March 1, 2016.
Glaucoma symptoms. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/glaucoma-symptoms. Updated February 21, 2014. Accessed March 1, 2016.
Open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114157/Open-angle-glaucoma. Updated June 2, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/symptoms-of-angle-closure-glaucoma.php. Accessed March 1, 2016.
Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/symptoms-of-primary-open-angle-glaucoma.php. Accessed March 1, 2016.
Weinreb RN, Khaw PT. Primary open-angle glaucoma. Lancet. 2004;363(9422):1711-1720.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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