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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma?

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Updated June 15, 2010

Question: What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma?
Answer: There are two major types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and acute closed-angle glaucoma. Most glaucoma patients have open-angle glaucoma. There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of open-angle glaucoma. The first sign is usually loss of vision, which is why the disease is sometimes referred to as the "sneak thief of sight." Vision loss caused by glaucoma cannot be restored.

By contrast, acute closed-angle glaucoma is very different. Symptoms of acute closed-angle glaucoma are evident and may come on suddenly. Acute closed-angle glaucoma usually appears as a red, painful eye. Facial pain, headache, blurry vision, rainbow-colored haloes around lights, nausea and vomiting may also be signs of closed-angle glaucoma. When the symptoms begin, it is usually referred to as an "attack" of acute angle closure and is considered a medical eye emergency.

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