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Glaucoma comes in two forms: angle-closure glaucoma and open-angle glaucoma. In the case of angle-closure glaucoma, you may be able to spot some symptoms and warning signs on your own, early on. Unfortunately, with open-angle glaucoma, there are no discernible early warning signs.


In angle-closure glaucoma, the eye’s drainage canals are blocked, causing fluid to back up in the eye and resulting in a sudden increase in pressure inside the eye. In open-angle glaucoma, the angle where the cornea and iris meet is wide enough to allow fluid to pass into the canal, and the increase in pressure occurs over a much longer timeline.

In both cases, as fluid builds up in the eye, the increased pressure can damage the retina, causing permanent vision loss. Treatment options include prescription eye drops, oral medication, and surgery. If treatment is administered in a timely fashion, you can avoid retinal damage and vision loss.


Open-angle glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the “sneak thief of sight,” because it is not painful, and does not cause sudden vision loss or impairment. In fact, you could go for years without even noticing the loss of vision in your periphery.

Patients who do not make regular appointments with their ophthalmologists often don’t realize that they have glaucoma until the very late stages, when visual acuity and sharpness finally begin to deteriorate. However, though you may not be able to detect a change in your vision, your ophthalmologist can detect and diagnose open-angle glaucoma in a complete, routine eye exam.

Getting your eyes checked at least every two years can prevent major vision loss due to open-angle glaucoma, as your ophthalmologist can prescribe effective treatments to slow the process down and prevent further vision loss. As with any medical disorder, the earlier your doctor can diagnose it, the more effective treatment will be.


Angle-closure glaucoma, on the other hand, does have very noticeable and painful symptoms. If you experience any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible, as you may have angle-closure glaucoma:

  • Severe headaches, especially with pain directly behind or in the eyes
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Blurred, hazy vision
  • Rainbow auras around light sources
  • Sudden vision loss

While you can detect angle-closure glaucoma on your own much more easily than open-angle glaucoma, it also causes damage much faster. If you ignore symptoms and hope they go away on their own — for example, if you assume that you just have a migraine — you could lose vision in one or both eyes permanently.


With open-angle glaucoma, you most likely won’t have any idea that you have the condition until your ophthalmologist diagnoses you. After diagnosis, make regular appointments with your ophthalmologist as regularly as he or she recommends. This could be once per year, once every six months, or more frequently until necessary treatment can be determined.

On the other hand, with angle-closure glaucoma, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. You have a much shorter timeline for diagnosis and treatment to avoid vision loss or impairment. If you’ve been experiencing any of the above symptoms, or it’s been over two years since your last eye appointment, call your eye doctor today. Call Silverstein Eye Centers today to make an appointment for an eye exam.

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  1. Marissa Mahon says:

    What is the age to develop glaucoma? If I have a little blurry vision in one eye a little more than the other, does that mean I have glaucoma?

    • Hi Marissa,

      Glaucoma can develop at any age, but the sooner it’s properly diagnosed, the better. Without a complete eye exam, we couldn’t tell you whether or not your blurry vision is the result of a disease, injury, or just natural aging of the eye. Please give us a call to setup an appointment – we’d be happy to help you!

    • Don says:

      Get yourself to the eye doctor asap. I was experiencing the same thing and it has been diagnosed as glaucoma.

  2. Lupita says:

    Have been noticing rainbows around lights, is that Glaucoma? Dont experience them often and dont last too long.

    • Lupita,

      It’s important that you see an eye doctor, as this is a symptom of acute glaucoma. Without an eye exam, we couldn’t tell you whether or not you actually have the disease, but it’s better to be safe than sorry … please give us a call as soon as possible to schedule an appointment: (816) 358-3600

  3. lucy morris says:

    I have a blurry spot in my eyes like aprism or diamond flickering then I feel pain behind my eyes

  4. ally says:

    Hi, I’m worried because when I was 12 and I went to go see the eye doctor, he said I had high eye pressure. Glaucoma also runs in my family as my dad and grandmother have it. I’m really scared because I’m only 13 and I want to be able to live my life and be able to see. Being blind is my worst fear. Currently, I’ve been noticing random floaters just popping up when I look around, does that mean anything? Another question, if someone does have glaucoma, does it mean they will eventually lose their vision?

    • Hi Ally,

      If you’re really worried about your eye sight, definitely have your parents schedule an annual eye exam. Your doctor will be able to track any changes in your eyes, and make recommendations accordingly to help keep them healthy. As for the random floaters, those are really common and completely normal. If, however, you’re vision is completely filled with them, and they’ve just suddenly appeared, you should see your doctor. And with regard to your glaucoma question, everyone is different. If you see the eye doctor regularly, and take whatever medication he or she prescribes as directed, you should be fine. Having glaucoma doesn’t automatically mean you’ll lose your eyesight!

  5. ally says:

    Also forgot to mention, I wear glasses and my number is -2.25 in one eye and -2 in the other. Is that normal? I feel like that number is too high.

    • You’re okay, Ally. Everyone’s eyes are different. Just remember to schedule regular eye exams, and be sure to talk to your doctor about any changes you’re experiencing with your vision. And have a great weekend!

  6. Ryan says:

    If I look really closely at lights I can see halos around them? Does that automatically mean that I have glaucoma? And will I go blind if I have glaucoma?

    • Hi Ryan,

      No – you don’t necessarily have glaucoma. It’s pretty common to see a little bit of a halo when you look closely at lights. However, if you’re worried, you should absolutely schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment will go a long way toward preserving your sight. Thanks for posting, and have a great weekend!

  7. Ink says:

    Hi! I understand that I probably don’t have any type of gloucoma, but I tend to worry about things like this and my mind would be put at ease to hear the opinion of a professional. So I am still in my early teens and the last time I went to get my eyes checked was a 2-3 years ago. Recently I have been asking my parents to take me and they have said yes, but nothing has happened yet. Even when wearing the glasses I got at my last appointment and after I have thouroughly cleaned them, my eyesight certainly isn’t terrible but it is far from what it was like when I first put on my glasses. At my young age, I’m not sure such rapid eyesight deterioration is normal or healthy. Before, my eyesight wasn’t bad — I technically didn’t even require wearing glasses, but simply preferred wearing them to improve my eyesight. Now, however, my eyesight is much blurrier and my vision always seems to be at least a little unfocused now matter the distance between the object in question and my eyes. I have started requesting that my teachers seat me in the front of the classroom because while they still slightly improve my vision, my glasses aren’t really helping. Should I be worried about these things?

    Thank you so much!
    – Ink

    • Hello! It sounds like maybe you just need a new prescription for your glasses. Don’t be alarmed that your eyes are changing – it happens to everyone, and it’s very unlikely that you have an eye condition with no symptoms beyond blurry vision. Be sure to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam, and enjoy your summer break!

  8. Cynthiaa says:

    Hi I have been having pain in both my eyes especially my left eye leading to a headache I would say it comes and goes threw out the day nnd I’ve noticed my eye sight is getting blurry..I’ve also get stomach pains and feel like throwing up are they connected with my eye pain? Also my eyes start to hurt more even if I read a message or anything In general.

    • Cynthia – it sounds like you should seek some medical attention. Your pain and nausea are both common symptoms that could be the result of any number of things. If you’re still experiencing problems with stomach pain this week, please see your primary care physician for a comprehensive exam and diagnosis.

  9. Kiley says:

    Hi, my name is Kiley. I have been reading about acute glaucoma and I’ve been getting worried. I have most of the symptoms but they come and go. I do have floaters, sometimes black but sometimes different colors. I have pain behind or on one side of one eye or both. I sometimes do get blurred vision that doesnt go away with blinking. I have headaches often, and I dont know if this could be linking, but this year I’ve had motion sickness and I’ve never had motion sickness. Also like a weird dizzy or passing out sensation a lot too but I dont know if that could link. I’ve been to doctors so much and they can’t find anything wrong with me.

  10. Virginia says:

    Can I send a picture of my eyes to see if you think I have glaucoma?

  11. Colette Quicksey says:

    I have open angle glaucoma take two eye drops one in the morning and one at night my left eye starting to bother me my ophthalmologist wants me to do another visual field

  12. Duncan Lance says:

    Considering how damaging glaucoma can be, it really does help to know the warning signs that you should look out for. I particularly like that the article goes over both open-angle and closure-angle glaucoma. That way you can more easily discuss which one you think you have with your eye doctor.

  13. Debra Lunceford says:

    My left eye didn’t take to the puff of air for The glaucoma test. When I told the tax he looked back at the chart for the last time I got it said we should tell the doctor the doctor did not respond anything when I told him it was an optometrist. I can’t recall exactly what the technician said but something like he couldn’t get it a reading or something when the puff came? I hope you can answer my question thank you Deborah

  14. Debra Lunceford says:

    My left eye didn’t take to the puff of air for The glaucoma test. When I told the tax he looked back at the chart for the last time I got it said we should tell the doctor the doctor did not respond anything when I told him it was an optometrist. I can’t recall exactly what the technician said but something like he couldn’t get it a reading or something when the puff came? I hope you can answer my question thank you Deborah

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