Glaucoma: When Symptoms become a Medical Emergency

By January 29, 2019Health Basics, Safety

Are you experiencing the worst eye pain of your life? It could be a type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical attention. There are various types of Glaucoma. Learn about the different types, and which symptoms are a medical emergency.

Acute Closure-Glaucoma or Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Symptoms often come on quickly. Symptoms can be:

  • The worst eye pain you’ve ever felt.
  • Severe throbbing eye pain
  • Headaches, often occurring on the same side as the affected eye.
  • Halos around lights
  • Blurry or foggy vision
  • Eye redness
  • Dilated pupil
  • Nausea & vomiting

Acute Closure-Glaucoma or Narrow-Angle Glaucoma is type of glaucoma that is a medical emergency. This type of glaucoma must be treated by a doctor within 6 to 12 hours. Otherwise, it could bring severe permanent loss of vision, blindness, and even a permanently dilated (enlarged) pupil. Therefore, you need to see a doctor immediately because damage to the optic nerve may begin within a few hours.

glaucoma medical emergencyOther types of Glaucoma include:

Open-Angle Glaucoma

  • The most common type of glaucoma.
  • However, some people don’t have symptoms until they’ve already lost a significant amount of vision.

Chronic Open-Angle Glaucoma (COAG)

  • Many times, the first sign is the loss of your side vision, or peripheral vision.
  • In addition, the loss can happen slowly, and some people don’t notice the change.

Congenital Glaucoma in Infants

This typically shows up between newborn to first few years. Symptoms include:

  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eyelid spasms
  • A larger cornea and clouding of the normally transparent cornea
  • Habitual rubbing of the eyes
  • Squinting
  • Keeping the eyes closed much of the time

Other forms of Glaucoma:

Read more about other types of glaucoma here.


Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider if you have any questions regarding a medical condition. In other words, never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have viewed or read on the internet.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911, or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.  Reliance on any information provided by Five Star ER, its staff, or any others appearing in the videos is solely at your own risk.

About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is a freestanding Emergency Room that provides excellent 24 hour care. We are located in South Austin, Pflugerville and Dripping Springs.


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