Symptoms and Signs of Adult Glaucoma Suspect

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 11/16/2021

Doctor's Notes on Adult Glaucoma Suspect

Glaucoma is a condition in which high pressure inside the eye damages the optic nerve and can result in permanent vision loss. Intraocular pressure (IOP), or elevated pressure inside the eye, is one of the main risk factors for glaucoma. Glaucoma suspect is an adult with one or more risk factors that may lead to glaucoma, including increasing IOP, but they do not yet have optic nerve damage or vision loss due to glaucoma. Regular eye examinations with an ophthalmologist are important to identify and treat people who are glaucoma suspects. Monitoring for the earliest signs of glaucomatous damage can often help preserve visual function.

People who are glaucoma suspected do not usually have any symptoms of glaucoma. Symptoms of possible angle-closure glaucoma may include

  • intermittent headaches,
  • seeing haloes, or
  • blurred vision.

Once vision loss is apparent, significant amounts of optic nerve damage have already occurred. The optic nerve damage and vision loss are permanent.

What Is the Treatment for Adult Glaucoma Suspect?

The treatment for an adult glaucoma suspect is done with long-term monitoring, medications, and surgery to prevent optic nerve damage from glaucoma.

Close monitoring of intraocular pressure (IOP) and signs of damage to the retina or optic nerve is important in adult glaucoma suspects. Depending on a person’s age, medical problems, baseline IOP, and family history, close monitoring and starting preventative treatment will be done by an ophthalmologist. 

Ocular hypertension or high IOP should be treated with medications to lower IOP. Common medications used to help lower IOP include: 

  • Prostaglandins
    • Latanoprost
    • Bimatoprost
    • Tafluprost
  • Alpha-adrenergic agonists
    • Brimonidine
    • Epinephrine
  • Cholinergic agonists
  • Rho-kinase inhibitors
    • Netarsudil
  • Beta-blockers
  • Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
    • Dorzolamide

Combination products are available for several classes of drugs including most commonly:

  • Latanoprost-timolol
  • Travoprost-timolol
  • Dorzolamide-timolol
  • Brimonidine-timolol
  • Netarsudil-latanoprost

In patients with certain types of early signs of adult glaucoma suspect, laser peripheral iridotomy can be a preventive measure in decreasing the risk of acute angle-closure glaucoma.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.