Can You Tell If You Have Glaucoma? | Westlake Eye Specialists

Can You Tell If You Have Glaucoma?

woman during eye exam for glaucoma

Do you sometimes need more light to see clearly? Or, have your glasses or contacts not been working as well as they usually do?

These symptoms or the loss of peripheral vision, blind spots, or halos around bright lights could mean you have glaucoma. Keep reading to learn more about glaucoma and what you can do to ensure it does not take your vision.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition that can cause blindness if left untreated. It occurs when you have too much pressure in your eye, and that pressure damages your optic nerve.

The optic nerve runs from your retina into your brain. It transmits nerve signals to your brain, which creates the images you see.

Damage to the optic nerve can inhibit these signals from reaching your brain. If the nerve impulses can’t get to your brain, you can no longer see.

That’s how glaucoma can rob you of your vision. And you may not even realize you have it until permanent damage has already occurred.

Types of Glaucoma

Angle-closure glaucoma and open-angle glaucoma are the two main types of glaucoma. 

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It occurs when the angle where the iris meets the cornea is open, but the eye’s drainage system has become clogged.

Since the eye can’t drain fluids, it becomes clogged and causes internal eye pressure to build. This pressure can then cause damage to the optic nerve. 

Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and often has no warning signs or symptoms. Because its progression is so slow, you may not realize the damage to your vision until it’s too late.

You have a higher chance of developing open-angle glaucoma if you have diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Also, your risk increases with age.

If you experience symptoms, it can be hard to know that they are from glaucoma. But if you know what to look for and get regular eye exams, you can stop Glaucoma from progressing.

Symptoms to be aware of:

  • Slightly blurred vision
  • Needing extra light to see clearly
  • Colors don’t look right, almost like your eyeglasses need cleaning
  • Your vision may be good in one eye but distorted in the other
  • Light seems darker or faded in your peripheral vision

Vision loss caused by glaucoma is irreversible. Therefore it’s crucial to catch it in time to slow it down and limit the damage.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

If you have angle-closure glaucoma, the angle where your iris and cornea join is narrow and closed. This closure causes eye pressure to build.

The symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma are noticeable, and damage to your optic nerve can happen very quickly. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms include:

  • Hazy vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe eye and head pain
  • Seeing halos or rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
  • Sudden vision loss

How to Treat Glaucoma

You can limit optic nerve damage from glaucoma by regulating the amount of pressure in your eye. There are a few ways your eye doctor will help you do this.

The most common treatments include medicated eye drops and oral medication. Both reduce eye pressure to help keep your optic nerve healthy.

There is also a surgical option. It uses a laser to open the drainage network in your eye to release the pressure that is building up.

Are you concerned you may have glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX, today to make sure you keep your eyes safe and healthy!