Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by a pattern of progressive damage to the optic nerve that transmits vision signals to the brain. It is often but not always associated with an increase in pressure within the eye (increased intraocular pressure). This pressure most often builds up painlessly over time. Signs and symptoms typically begin with a subtle loss of side vision (peripheral vision). If not diagnosed and treated, glaucoma can worsen and cause loss of central vision and blindness. Glaucoma can also occur in an acute form, in which the intraocular pressure increases very quickly because the drainage angle for the eye fluid becomes closed. An attack of acute angle-closure glaucoma can cause severe eye pain and headache, a red (inflamed) eye, nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision.
Causes of glaucoma
Elevated pressure in the eye is the main factor leading to the damage to the optic nerve. Other causes of glaucoma can include injury or trauma to the eye, inflammation, diabetes, cataracts, or decreased blood flow to the optic nerve. A rare, inherited form of glaucoma can occur in infants at birth.
Other glaucoma symptoms and signs
- Blurry Vision
- Distorted Vision
- Eye Pain
- Hazy Vision
- Loss of Central Vision
- Loss of Peripheral Vision
- Red Eyes
- Seeing Haloes Around Lights
- Vision Changes
- Vision Loss
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Main Article on Glaucoma Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Common Eye Problems and Infections
Eye diseases can cause damage and blindness if not detected and treated soon enough. Learn the warning signs and symptoms of...
Eye Problems & Conditions Quiz
What do you know about your eyes? Take this quick quiz to learn about a range of eye diseases and conditions.
Health Screening Tests Every Woman Needs
What is a health screening? Why is it important to know your blood pressure? How long will your health screening take? Learn...
Picture of Glaucoma
Glaucoma (the sneak thief of sight) refers to certain eye diseases that affect the optic nerve and cause vision loss. See a...
Examples of Medications for Glaucoma Symptoms and Signs
- apraclonidine solution 0.5% - ophthalmic, Iopidine
- apraclonidine solution 1% - ophthalmic, Iopidine
- betaxolol ophthalmic (Betoptic S, Betoptic)
- bimatoprost solution - ophthalmic, Lumigan
- brimonidine (Alphagan)
- brinzolamide suspension - ophthalmic, Azopt
- carteolol solution - ophthalmic, Ocupress
- Diamox (acetazolamide)
- dorzolamide (Trusopt)
- latanoprost (Xalatan)
- mannitol (Osmitrol)
- methazolamide - oral, Neptazane
- metipranolol - ophthalmic, Optipranolol
- pilocarpine, Salagen
- timolol ophthalmic solution (Timoptic)
- travoprost - ophthalmic solution, Travatan
Eye Health Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter