Do you know the five warning signs of glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition of the eyes, which mainly affects people over the age of 70, but spotting it early is key to ensuring vision isn’t lost. Symptoms aren’t usually evident in its early stages, but as the condition progresses over time, there are some warning signs to look out for.

  1. Cloudy-looking eyes

A clear fluid called aqueous humor is present in the eye and gets continuously recycled by the organ. Glaucoma causes the drainage channel for this to become narrowed or blocked, leading to the fluid to be pushed into the cornea and making it appear milky.

  1. Prominent blood vessels

Blood vessels in the eye may become dilated and therefore more visible if pressure has built up and the drainage channel is blocked. Raised pressure is associated with glaucoma and can lead to damage to the optic nerve.

  1. Headaches or vomiting

Most glaucoma cases develop slowly over time, but on occasion can cause sudden pain in the eye and even vomiting in response. Unusual headaches are another warning sign that should be looked into immediately.

  1. Loss of sight in one eye

Glaucoma can cause disruption to the connection between the eye and the brain by killing off fibres in the optic nerve. A symptom of this is the sudden loss of vision in one eye and is classed as an emergency, as there’s a small window of time when it can be treated.

  1. Watery eyes

There can be many reasons why your eyes are watering more than usual, but it may be down to the aqueous humor drainage channels becoming obstructed. Watery eyes combined with another of the symptoms outlined could indicate glaucoma.

Dr Elizabeth Hawkes, consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon at Cadogan Clinic in London, told MailOnline: “It can take a few years to be diagnosed as an adult as it tends to develop slowly.

“It is often only picked up during a routine eye test, which is why they are so important especially if you have a family member with glaucoma - [eligible people] should use the NHS screening service for over-40s, every year.

“Early diagnosis is associated with better visual prognosis, loss of vision is a late and usually avoidable sign if picked up early.”

Potential treatments for glaucoma include prescription eye drops, oral medicines, laser procedures or surgery. Sometimes a combination of these approaches will be used to tackle the condition.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Brands&People

Back to help & advice

Find your nearest Barchester care home

With over 200 care homes in the UK, there's always a Barchester care home near you.