The eye of a person with acute glaucoma is red and the pupil becomes dilated and cloudy. Other symptoms of acute glaucoma include severe headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.
Acute glaucoma is most common in Asians and in people who are farsighted. It tends to run in families and can develop at any age. An acute attack can be brought on by entering a darkened room, stress, and certain medications. The pressure inside the eye increases because the iris is suddenly pushed down over the trabecular meshwork, much as a stopper is put in a drain. The pressure increases very rapidly— within a matter of a few hours.
Symptoms develop suddenly and include severe headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, redness of the eyes, blurred vision, and seeing rainbowlike halos around lights. The pressure inside the eye must be lowered within 24 hours to prevent severe vision loss. Medications to decrease the production of aqueous humor and to constrict the pupil are used to treat acute glaucoma. Laser surgery is another common treatment. A test called gonioscopy can be performed as part of an eye exam to predict a person’s chance of having an acute attack.
Characteristics of Acute Glaucoma
Acute glaucoma is a medical emergency that develops when pressure inside the eye increases rapidly. Acute glaucoma can develop at any age, and must be treated promptly to prevent permanent vision loss.