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What are the Early Signs of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a slow progressive disease of the eye in which the optic nerve is damaged. The optic eye connects eye with the brain. Glaucoma is characterized by the rise in pressure of the fluid inside the eye. This condition can be inherited or acquired. It is generally caused by an increase in the quantity of fluid in the front region of the eye that builds pressure inside the eyes. It can affect people of any age but it is much common in adults of age 70 to 80 years. If it is left untreated, it may result in loss of vision.

What are the Early Signs of Glaucoma?

What are the Early Signs of Glaucoma?

Initially, glaucoma does not show any early signs. It usually takes years to develop and influence peripheral vision at the starting. Thus, many people cannot recognize the early signs of glaucoma. It is detected often during a routine eye test.

The early signs of glaucoma are-

  • You can observe halo around lights, for example, street light or headlights of oncoming vehicles especially during driving at night.
  • There can be the loss of vision in one or both eyes. If you observe any blind spot in your field of vision or any sharpness of vision, it is glaucoma. There is generally a reduction of peripheral vision in glaucoma.
  • You may feel pain in the eyes that can be sharp or dull with heaviness in the eyes. Heaviness in eyes is similar to what you feel during a sinus infection is a sign of glaucoma.
  • There can be nausea or vomiting or both in glaucoma.
  • You may experience redness and tiredness in eyes for a long time. This is one of indicating sign of glaucoma.
  • You may have cloudiness in the eyes or white eyes.
  • You may see multi-colored rings like a rainbow around the lights. It is also an indicative symptom of glaucoma.
  • You may feel a sudden and severe headache.

Some patients feel sudden and severe pain in the eyes. It is an acute attack of glaucoma which requires immediate treatment.

If you experience a headache with one or more signs of glaucoma together, then you should seek the help of the eye specialist.

Glaucoma has the potential to cause irreversible blindness. Both glaucoma and blindness cannot be cured. But there are ways which can regulate the progress of the disease.

There are two types of glaucoma that can affect you:

Open-Angle Glaucoma: Open-angle glaucoma is characterized by an increase in angle of iris and cornea more than normal. The drainage canals to the eye are blocked over time, resulting in the increase in the internal pressure of the eye. This increased pressure damages the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is very common and it takes years to develop without noticeable loss of vision. But this vision loss cannot be reversed with treatment or surgery. It does not represent any warning sign at the beginning of the disease. Blind spots usually develop in vision while you see peripherally, as the disease progresses.

Acute Angle-closure Glaucoma: It is also known as narrow-angle glaucoma. The angle between iris and cornea get closed, resulting in a rise in pressure inside eyes, thereby causing damage to optic nerves leading to vision loss. The early signs of this type glaucoma are realized by the symptoms like a sudden headache, hazy vision, the appearance of rainbow-colored circles around the bright lights, vomiting, nausea and sudden loss of eyesight. The patient should seek the help of his eye specialist when he feels these symptoms.


Glaucoma indicates a rise in the pressure of the fluid in the front of the eye. Anyone of any age can be affected by Glaucoma. But it mostly happens to aged people. It usually does not show any signs and symptoms initially. It can be easily detected during a regular non-invasive eye examination. Early detection of the disease will have better chances of recovery and prevention of blindness.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Glaucoma. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Is Glaucoma? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma
  3. National Eye Institute. Facts About Glaucoma. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/glaucoma
  4. WebMD. Understanding Glaucoma – the Basics. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/glaucoma-eyes
  5. Glaucoma Research Foundation. Glaucoma Symptoms and Diagnosis. https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/glaucoma-symptoms-and-diagnosis.php
  6. American Optometric Association. Glaucoma. https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/glaucoma?sso=y

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2023

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