Most ophthalmologists agree that there is usually very little warning or early symptoms for glaucoma. In fact, a large number of people don’t even know they have it. It’s best to be aware of what early symptoms there are, and what risk factors contribute to glaucoma, so you can begin management of glaucoma if you end up suffering from it.
Common early symptoms of glaucoma are:
- Patchy blind spots in your eyes
- Tunnel vision
- Hazy or blurred vision
- Rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights
- Severe eye pain or headaches that can be accompanied by vomiting
- Sudden sight loss
- Eye redness
Risk factors for glaucoma are:
- Family history of glaucoma
- Your race (there is increased risk if you are Latino or African-Canadian)
- If you are diabetic or have cardiovascular disease
- Getting old
One of the horrible things about glaucoma is that most people are already suffering from an advanced form of glaucoma when they start to experience these symptoms. Most people feel fine and these problems develop slowly, over time, so the person gets accustomed to the problems and symptoms without realizing there is something worse happening with their eyes.
This is why most ophthalmologists recommend glaucoma screening every 4 years after the age of 40 if you don’t have any of the risk factors. If you do, or if you’re over 65, they recommend screening every 2 years.
If the screening comes back positive, you will be able to start your glaucoma treatment, which could be something as simple as medicated eyedrops or something more complicated, such as glaucoma surgery.
Your vision is one of the most important parts of your everyday life and you need to do everything you can to protect it. A simple thing like an eye exam might be critical in preventing this disease from affecting you or your loved ones.