My wife has been diagnosed with glaucoma. There are two types, Open Angle and Closed Angle. Closed Angle is the rare one, only 10% of the population suffers from this one. Open Angle can take years to affect the sight. Closed Angle, on the other hand, can blind you in 24 hours time. It’s all about the pressure behind the eye. ( Get that glaucoma test during your yearly eye Doctor visit, people.)
My wife hasn’t missed a yearly eye exam in 35 years. This year, weeks before her appointment, the sight in her left eye was getting cloudy. Then, a headache above the eye started. Must be sinus, we both agreed. Took extra sinus meds. Day two, headache intensifies, must be a migraine, we both agreed. (Some diagnosticians we were) We called reception at the eye guys office, a Nurse was put on the line, and the symptoms warranted an immediate trip to the office. Pressure test revealed a reading of 45 in the left eye, (Normal pressure is 8 to 21) She was given powerful drops to drop the pressure (over the course of 5 hours) and then had laser surgery to drain the eye. (I watched on a monitor as the laser created a hole, and the fluid drained out.) Headache disappears, but, sight remains cloudy. Sent home, to return the next AM. Blood clot had formed in the hole…that’s blasted away with more laser…pressure is acceptable. Back a few days later, and the good eye is lasered for precaution. Now, scar tissue has formed on the left eye, and laser once again. She now sees only movement from her left eye. We are applying six different drops, twice a day to keep the pressure down. Doc says to expect drops forever, basically, and he is not optimistic that her sight will return, although, he sees no nerve damage.
It’s been six weeks since the initial attack, and we go to the Doc this Thursday.
To say the least, it has not been much fun. Any thoughts or observations would be appreciated. Thanks.

I have had border line abnormally high, but normal for me, eye pressure for nearly 50 years. Recently the Optomologist recommended drops in the left eye daily. On next visit, both eyes.

No damage as far as width of field of vison is concerned. All of which indicates the importance of periodic eye examinations including tests for potential glaucoma.

I read your post with great dismay this morning, and held off responding until I spoke to my Ophthalmalogist this afternoon. I too have glaucoma and have been doing drops for around 5 years, or so.

My pressure has been rising, so today my doctor did a Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (Google on it) or SLT, on my right eye just an hour and a half ago, and he’ll do the left next Wednesday.

Anyway, while we were getting ready for the procedure, I mentioned your wife’s problem to him. Please keep in mind how hurried (or maybe ‘intense’ is a better word) a Dr. appt can be so I wasn’t able to elaborate too much on your wife’s history.

At any rate after briefly describing the problem, I asked if your wife should get a second opinion. Without missing a beat he replied “Absolutely.”

I went on, “If these folks live close by enough, would you see her?” Again he gave a resounding affirmative.

I sort of guessed that with the address you post, you could live in NYC, so it wouldn’t be all that far. His office is in Danbury, CT. Say the word, and I’ll e-mail you his name, address and phone number.

And for what it’s worth, I have absolute faith in this guy.

In addition to treating my glaucoma, he replaced the lens in my right eye. Now, at 70 years old, I see better from that eye than I did when I was 8.

In the meantime, maybe other dopers will tell you how to shop for a competent Ophthalmalogist’s for a second opinion.

This stuff terrifies me.

I’ve got borderline pressures and cupped optic nerves which (I suppose) puts me in the high risk group for open angle.

As an artist (photography, cinematography, drawing), I absolutely depend on my sight and I’m terrified I’ll lose it suddenly one day.

Perhaps you might want to look into SLT mentioned above. It is a fairly new procedure, and might be just what the doctor ordered.

SLT is for open angle only, so you have that much in your favor, if and when your intraocular pressure gets dangerously high. My eye doctor has been checking me every 3-4 months for some time now. If you are truly as scared as you say, ask your Ophth. to do the same for you.

i have been using eye drops to treat my glaucoma for ten years. i have a pressure test twice a year, and a visual field test annually. so far, so good.

ray charles went blind as a result of untreated glaucoma

Forgot. I get a visual field test annually, too.

But what bugs me is that I’ve been told that the pressure surges of glaucoma do not cause any symptoms. It’s supposed to be insidious and thus catches you unaware. But the OP’s wife complained of pain for at least three days. Can’t fault them for misdiagnosing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d been told the same thing - that pressure spikes are asymptomatic.


seems to offer a good explanation of SLT.

Hope the OP’s wife is doing well.

Coincidentally, I just had the visual field test this morning. I got the results back later this afternoon: No damage found, thankfully.

My paternal grandmother lost her sight to glaucoma in her 70s. My grandmother apparently knew something was going wrong with her eyesight but blamed it on being out in the sun. (!) The story goes that she woke up one morning with no peripheral vision in either eye. Now, this “blind-overnight” story could be just an addition for dramatic effect but she was indeed blind for the last two decades of her life.

My father, now aged 65, recently had the SLT procedure as an out-patient at the hospital. Since glaucoma can run in families, there was some concern in my case as my pressures have been between 21-25 for the last several years. (I’m 40 now.) But since I have no wish to go blind, I’m religious about eye care even though I have my share of irrational fears about doctors in general.

I’m personally very thankful that we have reliable tests/treatments for glaucoma now even though there is no “cure” and no way to bring back sight lost to glaucoma. And also very thankful that it’s not 1920 or something, when all they could do for glaucoma was administer emergency care which consisted of stabbing you in the eye with a syringe in order to drain fluid. Yeesh. (That little tidbit courtesy of my eye doctor who likes to tell gross eyeball stories while you’re trapped in his chair.)

So yeah…regular eye exams are a very good thing.

ltfire, my mom’s story sounds a lot like your wife’s. I haven’t had much luck finding information on people with similar conditions to hers.

My mom’s glaucoma started out with flu-like symptoms. She was nauseous and vomiting for a couple of days - both my mom and dad just wrote it off as a bad flu. My mom can be stubborn sometimes, especially when it comes to doctors (she HATES them), and she will ride out whatever ailment she might have for as long as possible. After days of vomiting and headaches, she woke up with no sight in her right eye.

My dad took her to the ER, where her eye pressure was 68. It took a few days of several medicines to get her eye pressure down to a point where they could do the laser surgery. She will never regain sight in her right eye. (She can see light out of it, but nothing else.)

Since then, she has been controlling it with eye drops on her own (I know, I know… she should be regularly seeing an ophthalmologist, but I can’t MAKE her go). She says she can “feel” when her pressure is going up, and she always has her drops on her. It’s worked for her so far, but there are a few questions I have for anyone who might be able to answer them.

My mom is extremely sensitive to sunlight ever since losing sight in her right eye. She says that gives her an “eye ache” and she feels the pressure going up. She must always wear sunglasses when outside now, and prefers the shade whenever possible. Does anyone else experience this?

Reading seems to strain her eye, and also causes the “eye ache” / headache. She can’t read for long periods of time at all without pain. Is this typical?

She also has very little appetite since her glaucoma. She lost a lot of weight very quickly in the beginning due to the vomiting, and hasn’t put much back on. She doesn’t eat very often, as she often feels nauseous. Has anyone encountered this?

I know this thread was started back in 2004, but I’m really hoping for a long shot. I love my mom more than anything, and I need some answers for both of us. I find a lot of information about preventing vision loss, but I find almost no information on living with acute angle-closure/narrow angle/closed angle glaucoma AFTER it’s already too late and vision is lost in one eye. The ophthalmologist she saw when she was diagnosed never gave us any information on what to expect, and I figure trying to find answers myself online is easier than getting her to find a new doctor.

Anything anyone could contribute would be very helpful.

If there’s no nerve damage, was the loss of vision caused by the surgery? Sounds like it.

I have elevated IOP myself, though nowhere near 45 (28 is as high as I’ve been so far). It keeps me perpetually concerned, but so far my optic nerves are good.

The reason is that we are more sensitive to changes in eye pressure than to the absolute value of eye pressure. Someone who generally has pressures of 45 may have no pain at all; someone who generally has pressures of 10 but has their eye pressure shoot up to 45 will experience symptoms.

If someone has a high pressure spike over a short period of time it’s possible for the nerve to be significantly damaged without that damage being visible upon viewing the nerve, at least in the short term. The damage may be evident months or years down the road, though. I wouldn’t assume the damage was caused by the surgery.

BarnOwl doesn’t have problems with his eyes anymore. He passed away a little while ago. In Memorium

He was a really nice poster.

Your story sounds similar to my father’s. He lost the sight in one eye as a result of glaucoma and suffered a great deal of pain in the remaining eye along with sensitivity to light. After a few years, he had the blind eye surgically removed and had an artificial eye put in. He actually felt much better and said he wished he had done it sooner. It sounds drastic, but the vision was already completely gone and it wasn’t coming back. Removing the damaged eye really did seem to improve his quality of life.

This all occurred many years ago when my father was, I believe, in his 60s. He lived to be 82, led a fairly active life, including driving, for most of those years.

When I was in my early twenties, I experienced what I thought was a migraine: diminished vision, haloes around lights and very severe pain in and around the eyeball. After a few hours it went away, so I didn’t think any more of it.

Three months later it happened again. Then one month later, and over a time it started occuring every night and in both eyes. It only happened at night, and would only last for a few hours at most, so stupidly I never visited a doctor: by morning all symptoms were gone, and having young kids to care for, I would only visit a Dr for an emergency…I didn’t consider this to be in that category.

One day I was reading a medical symptoms book, and lo and behold, GLAUCOMA strangely fit all the symptoms I was experiencing. So eight years after the first attack, I did make an appointment with the ophthalmologist, and a few days later was in hospital having firstly some laser surgery (which didn’t work) then surgical iridectomies (which did).

Prior to the operations, my pressures would rise to over 60 in both eyes, but for some reason I never lost any vision. The reason they found for the early onset of glaucoma was that I had very shallow anterior chambers: as the light would diminish at the end of the day and my pupils would dilate, it would block the normal passages where the aqueous humour would drain. Ergo acute angle-closure glaucoma.