Redness in the eyes could signal glaucoma – risk of vision loss

Cause of Glaucoma explained

Like many health issues, problems with our eyes often get worse as we age. While it might not be possible to prevent them entirely, spotting the symptoms as early as possible could mean the difference between retaining and losing your vision. Glaucoma is one such condition that could result in blindness if not dealt with properly.

Glaucoma does not usually cause any symptoms to begin with and tends to develop slowly over many years.

However, there are some warning signs to be aware of.

According to Kyla Black, head of professional services at Boots Opticians, the colour of your eyes could be a giveaway.

She said: “Glaucoma is a common eye condition that affects people of all ages but is most common in adults in their 70s and 80s.

“It is where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. This is caused by a build-up of fluid in the eye, which then increases pressure inside the eye.

“Most commonly, glaucoma affects your peripheral vision first, and this can go unnoticed initially because your central vision, which we use for things such as reading, recognising faces and watching TV, remains good.

“For this reason, many people don’t realise they have glaucoma, and the only way to know if you are affected is to go for regular eye health checks.”

Symptoms of glaucoma

In rare cases, glaucoma will present with “sudden” symptoms.

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Ms Black said: “Very occasionally, glaucoma can develop suddenly, with the onset of symptoms including intense pain or redness in your eyes.

“You may also experience nausea and vomiting, headaches or blurry vision or even seeing rings around lights.

“If left without treatment it can eventually lead to blindness, which is why early detection is so important. Both eyes are usually affected, although it may be worse in one eye.”

However, the only way to be certain is to attend an eye appointment.

“During an eye check, your optometrist will check for any signs of glaucoma in the back of the eye and may also check the pressure inside the eye and complete a visual field test to check the peripheral vision,” she said. 

“Many of our Boots Opticians stores offer OCT eye scans, a cutting edge, non-invasive tool which allows the optician to see what’s going on under the surface of the eye.

“The scan only takes a couple of minutes and can help to detect underlying conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma before any symptoms may occur.”


Although glaucoma can’t be cured, there are ways to slow the progression.

Ms Black added: “Glaucoma is a life-long, chronic disease that cannot be cured and any sight lost due to glaucoma cannot be regained.

“But the good news is, with effective treatment, the damage can be slowed and therefore stopping the progression of sight loss.

“The treatment recommended will depend on the type of glaucoma you have, but options include eyedrops to reduce the pressure in your eyes, laser treatment to open up the blocked drainage tubes or reduce the production of fluid in your eyes, or surgery to improve the drainage of fluid.”

If you have any concerns about your eyes, you should speak to your optician or GP.

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