Glaucoma Symptoms

Most people who have glaucoma do not notice any symptoms until they begin to lose some vision. Because optic nerve fibers are damaged by glaucoma, small blind spots may begin to develop, usually in the side (or peripheral) vision. Many people do not notice the blind spots until significant optic nerve damage has already occurred. If the entire nerve is destroyed, blindness results.

Symptoms of Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma

One type of glaucoma, acute angle-closure glaucoma, does produce noticeable symptoms because there is a rapid build-up of pressure in the eye. The following are the most common symptoms of this type of glaucoma. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Blurred or narrowed field of vision
  • Severe pain in the eye(s)
  • Halos (which may appear as rainbows) around lights
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache

The symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma can resemble other eye conditions. Consult a physician for diagnosis immediately if you notice symptoms, as this type of glaucoma is considered a medical emergency requiring prompt medical attention to prevent blindness.

Glaucoma Diagnosis 

How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and eye examination, your eye care professional may perform the following tests to diagnose glaucoma:

  • Visual acuity test – The common eye chart test, which measures vision ability at various distances.
  • Pupil dilation – The pupil is widened with eye drops to allow a close-up examination of the eye's retina.
  • Visual field – A test to measure a person's side (peripheral) vision. Lost peripheral vision may be an indication of glaucoma.
  • Tonometry – A standard test to determine the fluid pressure inside the eye.