Early stage glaucoma can occur without any symptoms, and only until the disease progresses does the patient have noticeable vision loss. If the patient goes undiagnosed and untreated, damage to the optic nerve can occur, which may cause permanent blind spots to develop in the peripheral (side) vision. These spots may not be noticeable until the optic nerve has become severely damaged and the amount of vision loss has begun to impede on the central vision. Optic nerve damaged and irreversible vision loss can be decreased and even avoided with proper early diagnosis and treatment through yearly eye exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Conversely, in angle closure glaucoma, an emergency condition in patients with narrow angle glaucoma, there may be symptoms before the attack. Some early symptoms can include blurred vision, halos, headache or mild eye pain or redness. At the time of a closed-angle glaucoma attack symptoms include, severe eye or brow pain, redness of the eye, decreased or blurred vision, seeing colored rainbows or halos, headache, nausea or vomiting. Patients experiencing these symptoms should immediately call and be seen by their eye doctor to avoid severe damage to the optic nerve and vision loss.
Glaucoma is usually referred to as the “thief of sight” disease because there are usually no symptoms associated with the progression of the disease until there is permanent damage. The only way to diagnose the disease in the early stages to prevent vision loss, is to have yearly eye examinations with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.