How Long Does it Take to Go Blind from Glaucoma?

  • Medical Author: Robert J. Noecker, MD
  • Medical Editor: Richard W. Allinson, MD

Ask a Doctor

I was just diagnosed with glaucoma, and the doctor said it’s incurable. I’m only 62, and I want to watch my baby granddaughter grow up. The thought of going blind is terrifying, to say the least. I’m following the specialist’s orders as far as eyedrops, medications and other treatments – even surgery if necessary. But the real question is how much time do I have before I lose my eyesight entirely?

Doctor’s Response

Although glaucoma cannot be cured, it can be controlled. People with glaucoma need to have regular eye examinations and usually need to continue treatment for the rest of their lives.

  • Untreated acute glaucoma results in permanent vision loss. Untreated chronic glaucoma can progress to blindness within several years.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment usually results in excellent success and vision is saved. The outcome for congenital glaucoma varies depending on the age that symptoms are detected and the child’s response to therapy.

In most cases, the best prevention for glaucoma is early detection. If detected early, vision loss and blindness may be prevented. Anyone older than 20 years should have a glaucoma screening. Periodic eye examinations are indicated for the rest of your life to help prevent and identify glaucoma, especially if you have certain risk factors such as being an African American or having a family history of glaucoma.

For more information, read the full medical article on glaucoma.

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Medically reviewed by William Baer, MD; Board Certified Ophthalmology


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