The signs and symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type and stage of your condition. For example:
- Patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision, frequently in both eyes
- Tunnel vision in the advanced stages
Acute angle-closure glaucoma
- Severe headache
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Halos around lights
- Eye redness
If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually cause blindness. Even with treatment, about 15 percent of people with glaucoma become blind in at least one eye within 20 years.
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical care
Promptly go to an emergency room or an eye doctor's (ophthalmologist's) office if you experience some of the symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma, such as severe headache, eye pain and blurred vision.
Schedule eye exams
Open-angle glaucoma gives few warning signs until permanent damage has already occurred. Regular eye exams are the key to detecting glaucoma early enough to successfully slow or prevent vision loss.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends glaucoma screening:
Sept. 15, 2015
- Every four years beginning at age 40 if you don't have any glaucoma risk factors
- Every two years if you're at high risk or over 65
- AskMayoExpert. Glaucoma. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Glaucoma (pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Glaucoma. American Optometric Association. www.aoa.org/Glaucoma.xml. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Glaucoma. Merck Manuals Professional Version. www.merckmanuals.com/professional/SearchResults?query=glaucoma. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Information for healthy vision. National Eye Institute. https://nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/eyehealthtips. Accessed July 30, 2015.
- Weinreb RN, et al. The pathophysiology and treatment of glaucoma: A review. JAMA. 2014;311:1901. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 22, 2015.
- SooHoo JR, et al. Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery: Current implants and future innovations. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2014;49:528.
- Lazzaro EC, et al. The effect of positional changes on intraocular pressure during sleep in patients with and without glaucoma. Journal of Glaucoma. 2014;23:282.
- Yanoff M, et al., eds. Which therapy to use in glaucoma? In: Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com.
- Vajaranant TS, et al. Risk of glaucoma after early bilateral oophorectomy. Menopause. 2014;21:391.
- Malihi M, et al. Long-term trends in glaucoma-related blindness in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Ophthalmology. 2014;121:134.
- Facts about glaucoma. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Bower TN, et al. Canadian ophthalmologists' opinions concerning complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in glaucoma. Journal of Glaucoma. 2014;23:430.
- Sit AJ. Evaluation and adoption of new technology in glaucoma surgery. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2014;157:263.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. Preferred practice pattern: Primary open-angle glaucoma summary benchmark; 2014. http://www.aao.org/summary-benchmark-detail/primary-openangle-glaucoma-summary-benchmark--octo. Accessed July 27, 2015.
- Alpha-linolenic acid. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. www.naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed July 30, 2015.
- Glaucoma: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; 2013. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsglau.htm. Accessed July 27, 2015.
- Medication guide. Glaucoma Research Foundation. http://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/medication-guide.php. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Alternative medicine. Glaucoma Research Foundation. http://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/alternative-medicine.php. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Waisbourd M, et al. Selective laser trabeculoplasty as a first-line therapy: A review. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2014;49:519.
- Does marijuana help treat glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology. www.geteyesmart.org. Accessed April 24, 2015.
- Drug monograph: Marijuana, medical. Gold Standard. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Volkow ND, et al. Adverse health effects of marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;370:2219.
- Glaucoma. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed July 22, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Glaucoma, open-angle. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 23, 2015.
- Lumigan. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm?fuseaction=Search.Label_ApprovalHistory. Accessed Aug. 24, 2015.