Symptoms of glaucoma

In its early stages, open-angle glaucoma has no obvious signs. As the disease progresses and more damage occurs, blind spots develop in your peripheral (side) vision. These spots may not be noticeable until the optic nerve has become severely damaged — or until detected by an ophthalmologist during a complete exam.

See a simulation of what vision with glaucoma looks like.

People at risk for closed-angle glaucoma (also called narrow-angle or angle-closure glaucoma), where the eye’s drainage angle becomes blocked, usually have no symptoms before the attack, though some early symptoms can include blurred vision, halos, headache or mild eye pain or redness. At the time of a closed-angle glaucoma attack, symptoms include:

  • Severe eye or brow pain
  • Redness of the eye
  • Decreased or blurred vision
  • Seeing colored rainbows or halos
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

People with “normal-tension glaucoma” may have eye pressures within normal ranges, but have glaucoma signs and symptoms, such as blind spots in their field of vision and optic nerve damage.

Some people may not have glaucoma symptoms, but may have higher than normal eye pressure (called ocular hypertension). They are considered “glaucoma suspects,” and should be monitored carefully by an ophthalmologist.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Kuldev Singh on Sept. 1, 2013

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