How do I know if I am suffering from glaucoma?
In a majority of cases, there are no symptoms. The field of vision starts gradually constricting from the periphery towards the centre. Finally only a tubular field is left. That is when the patient starts bumping into objects or stumbling frequently over uneven pavements. Unfortunately, most elderly patients ascribe the gradual diminishing of visual fields to cataract and delay visiting their eye doctors, thinking, “I can still see distant and near objects clearly – my cataract is not yet ready”. Unfortunately, she does not realize that though the central vision is perfect, it is the peripheral field, which is being irreversibly lost, due to glaucoma and not due to cataract. Little wonder then, that glaucoma is called the “silent thief of vision”.
In a small percentage of patients, who suffer from ‘narrow angle glaucoma’ frequent change of glasses, headaches occasional redness of the eyes may be early symptoms. These patients can also develop an ‘attack of glaucoma’ in which there is severe pain redness and watering of the eye. In some cases, there may be associated nausea or even vomiting during the acute attack!