Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that lead to damage of the optic nerve and in some cases to severe vision loss, if undetected. Once optic nerve damage and vision loss occur, it is permanent. These diseases are usually classified into two groups – open angle glaucoma or chronic glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma or acute glaucoma. Either set of conditions can cause permanent damage to vision in the affected eye and lead to blindness if left untreated. Unfortunately, chronic glaucoma, the most common form, is largely asymptomatic till the disease has reached a significant stage. People who have family history of glaucoma, past injury to the eye or take steroids are at risk for glaucoma. Regular eye examinations are the best way to detect it: your ophthalmologist will measure your eye pressure, evaluate your optic nerve and test your visual field.
However, there are a few signs one may watch out for, and which may signal its onset. If the symptoms mentioned below are noticed, investigated and treated in time, it is possible to slow down and sometimes quell the progression of the disease.
1. Intense Pain
Severe pain in the affected eye is a typical symptom of acute closed-angle glaucoma. The affected eye begins to ache suddenly and the unprecedented pain can be seriously incapacitating. It is hard to localize but, unlike the eye pain which entails a heaviness/throbbing behind the eyes, glaucoma causes the outer surface of the eye to ache. Most people will attempt to rub the eye or clutch it tightly when an attack occurs but this may only irritate the eye further.