Signs and symptoms of glaucoma

The most common type of glaucoma often has no symptoms however there are several different types of glaucoma.

Each type has different signs and symptoms, we will explain some of the different signs and symptoms caused by the main types of glaucoma, and what you should do if you experience any of them.

Most types of glaucoma develop gradually, so in the early stages, there are no symptoms. Unfortunately, significant vision can be lost before you have any signs of glaucoma.

If you look for images of what vision with glaucoma looks like, you’ll often see photos that show a black tunnel or big black patches dotted around. This isn’t very accurate, and glaucoma sight loss can be quite subtle, especially at the start. Some people with glaucoma notice just misty or blurry patches in their vision, particularly if they close one eye, and that’s how we tend to describe glaucoma sight loss.

For people with more advanced glaucoma, reading, driving or daily activities such as moving about become more difficult. For more information about the common types of glaucoma, visit primary glaucomas or secondary glaucomas.


The only way to tell if you have most types of glaucoma is through an eye test at an optometrists.

What is glaucoma

Sub acute attack

Sometimes, milder symptoms can occur during a “sub-acute attack”, more commonly in the evening.

• Misty vision
• Coloured rings around white lights
• Discomfort in the eye
• Red eye

If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical advice.

There are different types of glaucoma, with a range of symptoms and causes. Some of these include:

Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma symptoms

PACG is different to primary open-angle glaucoma as it develops suddenly. It has these symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Halos around light sources
  • A red eye
  • Cloudy vision
  • Nausea

If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical advice.

Primary Glaucoma (POAG & PACG) symptoms

Most people who have either primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) or primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG) feel fine and do not notice a change in their vision at first because the initial loss of vision is of side or peripheral vision, and the visual acuity or sharpness of vision is maintained until late in the disease.

Find out more about Primary Glaucoma

Secondary Glaucoma symptoms

As secondary glaucoma progresses, symptoms include the loss of field vision and using stairs becomes difficult. Reading and vision are still normally good. If left untreated, sight may be lost. Some patients report eye aches with cloudy vision.

Find out more about Secondary Glaucoma

Developmental Glaucoma (Childhood) symptoms

Glaucoma in babies and children. Some babies are born with glaucoma. This is likely to be identified at birth or soon after. The main symptoms are

• Large eyes
• Sensitivity to light
• Cloudy eyes
• Watering eyes
• Poor vision
• Jerky eyes (nystagmus)

Find out more about Developmental Glaucoma


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