There's more to healthy vision than 20/20 eyesight!

Determining Your Risk Factors for glaucoma

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. However, depending on your general health, eye health and other family history considerations, there are a number of factors that that may influence your likelihood of developing glaucoma. Below is a checklist of factors to help you assess whether you may be at risk of developing glaucoma. People at high risk for glaucoma should get a complete eye exam, including eye dilation, every one or two years.

Race

Race plays a significant role in the likelihood of developing glaucoma. 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 as well.

Age

There is a direct relationship between age and the likelihood of developing glaucoma. The chances of developing glaucoma increase considerably after the age of 40. In fact you are six times more likely to get glaucoma if you are over 60 years of age, even if you have no other family or medical history that is significant. Your risk is also greater if you have any family history of glaucoma or other systemic or eye disease that compromises your circulation such as diabetes.

Family History

Any family history of glaucoma is considered a very significant risk factor. If any members of your family have been diagnosed with glaucoma, it increase the likelihood that you will develop glaucoma by 4-9 times over the general population. This is particularly true for siblings of glaucoma patients who have a 5-fold increase in risk for developing glaucoma.

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause general problems with circulation throughout the body-including the eye. As a result of the poor circulation, patients with diabetes are considered to be at greater risk for developing glaucoma due to these general circulation problems.

Eye Injury

Injury to the eye may cause secondary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma can occur immediately after the injury or years later. Blunt injuries that “bruise” the eye (called blunt trauma) or injuries that penetrate the eye can damage the eye’s drainage system, leading to traumatic glaucoma.