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Glaucoma Symptoms & Diagnosis


At first, glaucoma usually causes no visual symptoms. Vision stays normal, and there is no pain. However, as the disease progresses, peripheral vision gradually begins failing. That is, objects in front may still be seen clearly, but objects to the side may be missed. As the disease worsens, the field of vision narrows and complete blindness can result. Glaucoma is usually a slowly progressive disease, causing damage over many years before obvious symptoms occur.


An ophthalmologist or optometrist can often detect glaucoma during an eye examination. One important part of an eye examination to check for glaucoma and other diseases is to dilate your pupils. To accomplish this, drops are put into your eyes during the exam to enlarge your pupils. This allows the eye care professional to see more of the inside of the eye.

To detect glaucoma, your eye care professional will do the following tests:

  • Visual acuity—measures how well you see at various distances
  • Visual field—measures your side (peripheral) vision
  • Tonometry—determines fluid pressure inside the eye
  • Pupil dilation—provides a better view of the optic nerve to check for signs of damage

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2024 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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