Glaucoma is a degenerative condition of the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve and may eventually result in blindness. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, up to 3 million Americans are estimated to suffer from glaucoma with only 1.5 million being aware of their condition. Fortunately, this potentially blinding disease is perfectly treatable — if it’s caught in time.
Glaucoma treatment is available via corrective eye surgery. However, early detection can help to reduce the risk of damage to one’s optic nerve. Below are some of the early signs of glaucoma to help reduce the risk of greater eye damage:
- Headaches or eye pain
One of the most common early signs of glaucoma is a sharp, sudden pang in the eye area or a headache that seems to be centered around the eyes. These pains are often a symptom of angle-closure glaucoma.
- Cloudy or hazy eyes
Corneas that exhibit cloudiness is often a telltale sign of developing glaucoma. Although often seen in the elderly, children and young adults can also exhibit this type of glaucoma symptom. Other early signs of glaucoma in infants or children also include light sensitivity and watery eyes.
- Ocular hypertension
High-pressure readings in the eye can be one of the early signs of glaucoma even if you don’t exhibit any other symptoms. Eye pressure is the result of fluid buildup in the eye, which causes the eye to expand against the optic nerve.
- Eye redness
Your eyes can become red and inflamed due to lack of sleep, eye strain, or even exposure to chlorine in pool water. However, eye redness is also an early sign of glaucoma and may be a result of eye pressure if you haven’t been around any irritants.
- Seeing halos around lights
One of the more well-known symptoms of glaucoma is seeing halos or a cloudiness around light sources. The best way to describe this effect is as if your glasses have been smeared.
Know your risk
Up to 50% of those developing glaucoma are unaware of their condition because glaucoma doesn’t always come with symptoms. For this reason, it’s essential to understand your risk of developing the illness and to regularly see your eye surgeon, eye doctor, or primary care physician. Those who are at higher risk of open-angle glaucoma and other variations include those with diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, children of parents who had glaucoma, and those of Latinx or African-American background.
Early detection is key to corrective eye surgery and preventing the more damaging stages of glaucoma. Talk to your eye doctor today to find out your vision correction options and your risk of developing, and treating, glaucoma.