We rely on symptoms to help us determine whether we should go to the doctor. Websites like Web MD Symptom Checker or Healthline can be a useful tool, but what about conditions that have no symptoms? Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness, but it can be a challenging disease to diagnose and treat. The two most common forms are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).
Open-angle glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight” because it has no symptoms until significant vision loss has occurred. Most people who have open-angle glaucoma feel completely normal and do not notice any changes in their vision. This is because the condition develops slowly, and glaucoma affects peripheral vision first. At the point that a patient notices changes in their vision, the disease is often in an advanced stage.
Unlike open-angle glaucoma which develops slowly and painlessly, angle-closure glaucoma often happens suddenly. Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma may include:
- Hazy or blurred vision
- The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
- Sudden sight loss
These symptoms should not be ignored, and the patient must seek medical attention immediately because permanent vision loss could occur rapidly.
When it comes to glaucoma, you cannot rely on symptoms or warning signs to prompt you to make an appointment with your eye doctor. Getting an annual comprehensive eye exam is the best defense against glaucoma and other degenerative eye diseases.