Glaucoma: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Updated on 20 March 2023

Glaucoma: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

There are many types of eye diseases that endanger our eyesight. Glaucoma is one of those medical conditions that can damage the optic nerve, a vital part assisting us in seeing. Our optic nerve passes the visual images from your eyes to the brain.

When the intraocular pressure increases in the eye, it damages the optic nerve. The damaged optic nerve can affect vision or, in some cases, can lead to blindness. Glaucoma could be a hereditary condition running in a family. However, an individual suffers from this condition only later in their life. 

Let’s learn more about Glaucoma.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Primary open-angle glaucoma is seen mostly in patients with glaucoma. It gradually progresses into vision loss, other than that it does not have any signs or symptoms. If you find any changes in your vision, you should consult an eye specialist to identify the reasons. Some signs and symptoms of glaucoma that a person may face are:

  • Eye pain that can be severe
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Redness in eye
  • Vision disturbances or blurred vision 
  • The patient sees coloured rings around the lights

The back of the eye produces a clear fluid known as aqueous humour. The front part of the eye is filled with this fluid. It flows out of the eye through channels. If these channels are slightly or completely blocked, the fluid starts building up as the eyes start producing too much of it. This disturbs the natural pressure in the eye or the intraocular pressure. Once the pressure increases, it damages the optic nerve and the progression of this damage results in losing eyesight. 

Glaucoma can be an inherited condition or else it could occur due to high blood pressure, eye infection, blocked drainage in the eye, inflammation, etc. It is believed that sometimes an eye surgery done for some other reason may cause glaucoma, though it so happens very rarely.

Diagnosis of Glaucoma

The diagnosis does not take too much time and it is not painful. The ophthalmologist puts dilating drops to widen the pupils so that the eyes can be examined. The optic nerve is checked for the probability of glaucoma. Photographs are taken for future visits. 

Tonometry, a test to check eye pressure is done along with a visual field test to check the loss of peripheral vision. If the doctor feels that you have glaucoma, you may be advised to get a special imaging test of the optic nerve.

Treatment for Glaucoma

The treatment of glaucoma usually includes eye drops and oral medications. The doctor may also advise you for laser surgery or microsurgery for lowering the fluid pressure in your eye if required. 

  1. Eye Drops: To decrease the intraocular pressure (fluid pressure of the eye), eye drops are prescribed. They lower the fluid generation or increase the flow out of the eye. 
  2. Medicines to be taken orally: There are carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and beta blockers that may be prescribed by the doctor. They too are meant to lower fluid production or for increasing drainage. 
  3. Laser Surgery: Laser surgery can raise the flow of fluid from the eye in case of open-angle glaucoma. 

Microsurgery-A new channel is made by the doctor known as trabeculectomy to drain the fluid. This procedure mostly needs to be repeated. There are some risks associated with this procedure like bleeding, infection, and temporary vision loss.

Prevention of Glaucoma

  • Go for an eye check-up regularly. 
  • Know about your family history. Those above the age of 40 and with a family history of glaucoma are advised to get their eyes checked every 1-2 years. 
  • Listen to your eye specialist and follow their instructions to prevent further damage to your eyes. 
  • Exercise is helpful for overall fitness including your eyes. 
  • Protect your eyes when needed with eyewear, like carrying out some chemical experiment or working on some project that blows lots of dust or other particles.


If you feel like either or both of your eyes have any serious trouble, immediately see your ophthalmologist and get them checked. Take the prescribed medicines regularly and follow the instructions given by the doctor including the follow-up visits. The health of your eyes matters and even when you do not have problems, you should get them checked once every 2-3 years.





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