Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that lead to damage of the optic nerve. In some cases, it can lead to severe vision loss, if left undetected. Once optic nerve damage and vision loss occur, it is permanent. These diseases are usually classified into two groups - open-angle or chronic glaucoma, and closed-angle 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 a family history the disease, past injury to the eye, or take steroids are at risk. 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 that may signal the onset of glaucoma. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned below, talk to your doctor. Early detection and treatment can slow down and sometimes defeat the progression of the disease.
Acute closed-angle glaucoma can cause severe pain in the affected eye. The affected eye begins to ache suddenly, and the unprecedented pain can be severely disabling. The pain may be hard to localize. However, unlike eye pain that entails a heaviness or 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. Unfortunately, this may only irritate the eye further.
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