Home Conditions Eye Conditions, A-ZGlaucoma » What glaucoma looks like

Through the eyes of a glaucoma patient

woman getting a glaucoma eye exam

Regardless of what type of glaucoma you have, the untreated end result is essentially the same: loss of vision. While this deterioration of vision may happen rapidly (narrow-angle glaucoma) or over time (open-angle glaucoma), the “silent thief of vision” begins by creeping into your peripheral vision.

It’s difficult to identify glaucoma without an eye exam, until permanent damage has already occurred. This not only stresses the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams, but encourages people to look for early signs of glaucoma.

The images below reflect what people see during the beginning and progressing stages of glaucoma, making it possible to recognize if you should seek treatment.

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According to a study on what glaucoma patients see, loss of peripheral vision isn’t always the first problem glaucoma patients notice. It’s common for their vision to blur slightly and for the patient to require more lighting than usual in order to see an object clearly.

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Individuals passed the beginning stages of glaucoma have reported issues differentiating color and clarity, comparing it to looking through a pair of dirty glasses. They also experience a minor darkening of peripheral boundaries.

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As mentioned, glaucoma affects your sight beginning with your peripheral vision, which can be described as the corner boundaries of your visual field. In the early stages of glaucoma, your peripheral vision will fade or darken.

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Typically, when we think of “peripheral vision,” we imagine the previous image, which demonstrates what many glaucoma patients experience. However, losing “peripheral vision” can also include nasal peripherals (loss of sight in the inner corners of eyes) or losing sight in one eye over the other.

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If left untreated, glaucoma will impact your entire field of vision, leaving very little, if any, sight. What’s worse, the vision you lose to glaucoma is permanent and cannot be reversed or restored with treatment.

Stop glaucoma before it’s too late

Glaucoma can easily be managed by reducing and maintaining the amount of pressure within the eye. Fortunately, there are several ways to achieve this:

Medicated eye drops

Eye drops are usually the first stop when treating glaucoma. They lower eye pressure by reducing how much fluid is in the eyes and allowing eye fluid to drain more effectively. While eye drops are typically an excellent non-invasive treatment option, they require frequent application throughout the day in order to get the full effect. For some, this may seem disruptive and inconvenient for their schedule.

Oral prescriptions

Taking oral medication to improve function of the optic nerve or lower eye pressure is also an option. On the upside, it’s less of a hassle than using eye drops; the downside includes potential side effects and added cost. 

Surgical procedures

Surgical procedures for glaucoma typically involve a laser that targets the tissues in charge of draining fluid from the eye, leading to lower eye pressure. While surgical solutions are usually very effective, it will not permanently eliminate your glaucoma risk. After approximately 10 years, your eye will require a touch-up procedure to keep glaucoma at bay.

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