Open angle glaucoma (chronic glaucoma)
There are usually no symptoms with chronic glaucoma because it occurs so slowly. People with this type of glaucoma often do not realise that their sight is being damaged. This is because the first part of the eye to be affected is the outer field of vision (peripheral vision). This often means that vision is lost from the outer part of one’s field of vision, slowly working inwards towards the centre.
Changes in vision are often linked to getting older, which is why regular eye checks are so important. It is recommended that people who are over 40 years of age have an eye test every two years.
Acute angle closure glaucoma (acute glaucoma)
Due to the rapid development of acute glaucoma, the symptoms are often severe. They include:
- intense pain,
- redness of the eye,
- tender eye area,
- seeing halos, or ‘rainbow-like rings’ around lights, and
- misty vision.
As a result of these symptoms, some people may experience nausea and vomiting.
The symptoms of acute glaucoma are not constant, and they can last a few hours before disappearing again. However, each time the symptoms occur, your vision is damaged a little more. It is important that you contact your GP straight away if you experience any of the above symptoms because early treatment can prevent further damage from occurring.
If you experience symptoms outside of your GP’s normal working hours, visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. The healthcare staff will be able to relieve the pressure within your eye and treat any pain and discomfort that you are experiencing.
As secondary glaucoma is caused by other conditions, or eye injuries, it is possible that the symptoms of glaucoma itself may be confused with the original cause. However, the glaucoma may still cause misty vision, and rings, or halos, around light sources.
Glaucoma in children
Although glaucoma in children is very rare, there has been a specialist paediatric glaucoma service at Moorfields for over fifty years.
Developmental glaucoma (congenital glaucoma)
Recognising the symptoms of developmental glaucoma can be very difficult due to the young age of the baby, or child.
However, your child may display some symptoms, such as:
- having large eyes, due to pressure causing the eye to expand,
- being sensitive to light,
- having a cloudy appearance to their eyes,
- having watery eyes,
- jerky movements of the eyes, and
- having a squint, which is an eye condition that causes one of the eyes to turn inwards, outwards, or upwards, while the other eye looks forward.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should visit your GP as soon as possible, or consult your consultant.