Daniel B. Brown, M.D.Which eye disease can cause vision loss without any symptoms? If you answered “glaucoma,” you’re right. January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Awareness is important for glaucoma because the most common form, open-angle glaucoma, rarely causes symptoms until an advanced stage. It’s sometimes called the “silent thief of sight.”

Glaucoma symptoms and signs

If you have open-angle glaucoma, but do not get your eyes checked regularly, you might only notice one sign: worse peripheral vision (side vision). By that time, you already have some permanent vision loss.

Your eye doctor can spot other signs of glaucoma, such as:

Eye anatomy illustration

Optic nerve damage. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. When it’s damaged, you lose vision. Nerve damage from glaucoma is visible with a dilated eye exam, even if you have not noticed vision loss.

Elevated eye pressure. Many people with open-angle glaucoma have higher than normal pressure inside the eye, but not everyone does.

Symptoms of angle closure glaucoma

In the U.S., angle closure glaucoma is much less common than open-angle glaucoma. It happens when pressure builds up quickly inside the eye. Symptoms can include:

  • Severe eye pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seeing halos around lights

The conjunctiva, or “white,” of the eye might also turn red. If you have any of these symptoms, call an eye doctor immediately. You can reach Oregon Eye Specialists at 503-935-5580.

Glaucoma tests

Regular eye exams are the best way to catch glaucoma before it steals your vision. Learn how often you need an eye exam, based on your age and health.

A comprehensive eye exam includes:

  • An eye pressure test
  • An exam of your optic nerve to check for damage

If your doctor suspects glaucoma or you are at risk for it, you might need a visual field test. This vision test can find gaps in your field of vision.

Get a comprehensive eye exam and glaucoma check

Everyone 40 and over should have a regular comprehensive eye exam to check for signs of glaucoma and other eye conditions.

Call 503-935-5580 or request an appointment at Oregon Eye Specialists. We have 10 convenient locations, so there’s sure to be one near you.

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About the Expert

Dr. Daniel Brown joined Oregon Eye Specialists in 2000. He practices comprehensive ophthalmology with special interests in cataract surgery, diabetic eye care and glaucoma. He uses state of the art technology to treat and diagnose dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction utilizing meibomian gland imaging, Lipiflow and Lipiview. Learn more about Dr. Daniel Brown »