Glaucoma Risk Factors

Glaucoma Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that that may influence your likelihood of developing Glaucoma. These “Glaucoma Risk Factors” are important to understand in assessing your own personal risk for developing Glaucoma. Glaucoma risk factors include the following: (http://www.glaucoma.com/learn/are_you_at_risk.html).

  • High Intraocular Pressure
    Anyone with an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is considered to be at risk for developing Glaucoma.

  • Age
    The chances of developing Glaucoma increase, especially after the age of 40. In fact you are six times more likely to get Glaucoma if you are over 60years of age- even if you have no other family or medical history that is significant-and your risk is greater if you have any family history of Glaucoma or other systemic or eye disease that compromises your circulation such as diabetes.

  • Race
    African-Americans have certain genetic factors that cause a higher likelihood of developing Glaucoma. In fact they have a six to eight fold increase in risk for Glaucoma. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African-Americans. Asians appear to have higher risk for developing Narrow Angle Glaucoma. In addition, Hispanics over the age of 60 seem to be at increased risk.

  • Myopia
    Patients who are extremely nearsighted sometimes have anatomical features that can increase their risk of Glaucoma.

  • Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
    Patients who take medication for high blood pressure may be at greater risk for Glaucoma as a result of the medication lowering of the blood pressure and thus decreasing circulation within the optic nerve.

  • Diabetes
    Diabetic patients are considered to be at greater risk for Glaucoma due to the general circulation problems associated with diabetes.

  • Family History
    Any family history of Glaucoma, is considered a very significant risk factor. If any other family members have been diagnosed with Glaucoma, your risk of developing Glaucoma increases four to nine fold over the general population. This is particularly true for siblings of Glaucoma patients who have a 5-fold increase in risk for developing Glaucoma.

In addition to these factors, if you have had trauma to your eyes (i.e. a sports injury or car accident) or if you have been treated for Asthma for long periods of time with steroid inhalers or have a corneal thickness less than 0.5mm, you too may have an increased risk for Glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a very complex eye disease, and not simply an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Nonetheless, when detected early it can be successfully treated. At Riverside Eye Center, Dr. Whitaker and the staff provide the full scope of advanced technology diagnostic testing for Glaucoma, and treatment, as well as taking the time necessary to give each patient the personal education needed to fully understand their condition.

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