Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by the gradual damage and eventual destruction of the optic nerve located at the back of the eye. As the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in the world, glaucoma is a serious and life-changing medical condition.
Unfortunately, many forms of the illness do not have warning signs. They develop so gradually that many of the 2.5 million Americans affected do not realize anything is wrong until the disease is in its later stages. This is why regular eye exams are crucial. If your new Smyrna beach glaucoma doctor can diagnose glaucoma early, they can help slow or prevent vision loss. You can help by reporting any of the following symptoms to your doctor promptly.
Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage canals in your eyes clog over time, increasing the internal pressure and damaging the opting nerve. This increased pressure within one or both of your eyes can usually cause intense eye pain. And since open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease, it is important to discuss eye pain with your doctor immediately after you notice it. The pain may come and go, worsen during long periods of wakefulness, or even prevent you from sleeping.
The optic nerve, which glaucoma damages, is responsible for sending visual information obtained by your eye to the brain. It is crucial for proper vision. When pressure damages the nerve, it may cause miscommunication and misfiring neurons in the brain. This can manifest in different ways, including through severe headaches that seem to originate from the eyes. The pain may feel like someone is pressing on both sides of your head.
The internet is rife with images of what glaucoma “looks like.” However, most of these images depict large black patches dotted around a black tunnel. Eye health experts maintain that this depiction is inaccurate because vision loss caused by glaucoma is subtler. You are more likely to notice blurry or misty patches in your vision than dark spots. Sometimes, the blurriness may worsen if you close one eye.
Nausea and Vomiting
Some people with glaucoma report experiencing episodes of nausea and vomiting before any vision problems. In fact, many patients seek treatment for unrelated medical conditions before getting a glaucoma diagnosis. And nausea and vomiting alone are associated with so many illnesses that you may not always be alerted to see your eye doctor. But you should if they are accompanied by blurry vision.
Halos or Rainbows Around Lights
In addition to misty or blurry patches in your vision, you may also begin to see rainbows or halos around bright lights and other objects. These may become more prominent in the evening and might be accompanied by eye redness and discomfort. This combination of symptoms, while often mild, may signal a sub-acute glaucoma attack.
Never Ignore Eye Problems
People with glaucoma often require monitoring or treatment for the rest of their life. Forms of the disease like open-angle glaucoma are very difficult to catch early because they do not produce noticeable symptoms in the beginning.
However, other forms of glaucoma cause worrying symptoms like nausea, eye pain, and headaches. Discussing these symptoms with an eye expert can help you prevent permanent vision loss. This, plus regular eye exams, may help you protect your eyesight. To set up your exams, get in touch with an eye doctor today.