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:
- 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
- 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.
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.
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