Glaucoma is a general term for several related eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. Untreated glaucoma can lead to vision loss and is one of the leading causes of blindness among Americans.
The progression of glaucoma is usually so slow that patients don’t even know they have the condition, so the best way to prevent glaucoma is to understand your risk factors and have regular eye exams with Dr. Patel. Please call 732.985.5009 today to schedule a glaucoma screening with our Edison ophthalmologists.
Risk Factors for Primary Open Angle Glaucoma
Glaucoma comes in several forms, the most common of which is primary open angle glaucoma. This form of glaucoma has a very gradual onset, and most patients won’t realize they have it unless it’s detected in an eye exam. Risk factors for primary open angle glaucoma include
- Ethnicity: Primary open angle glaucoma is five times more common in African Americans than in Caucasians, and the condition often shows up earlier. Hispanic patients are also more likely to develop this form of glaucoma.
- Family history: Primary glaucoma is strongly hereditary. If a member of your family has this condition, you’re up to 10 times more likely to develop glaucoma than if you have a clean family history.
- Hypertension: If you suffer from high blood pressure, you’re more likely to develop primary open angle glaucoma than if your blood pressure is normal.
- Medication use: Certain medications like steroids can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.
- Age: After the age of 60, you become up to 6 times more likely to develop the condition.
Risk Factors for Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
Unlike the more common primary open angle glaucoma, acute angle-closure glaucoma can develop quite suddenly, exhibit painful symptoms, and lead to rapid vision loss. You may be at risk for this form of the disease if you are farsighted, of Asian or Inuit-Yupik descent, or are a Caucasian female. The risk of developing this form of glaucoma also increases with age.
Risk Factors for Secondary Glaucoma
Secondary glaucoma is a form of the disease that is the result of another (primary) condition, and it can result in either open- or closed-angle forms. Common risk factors for secondary glaucoma include:
- Certain medications can increase your risk of developing glaucoma.
- Women, in particular those with fair skin, have a heightened risk for certain forms of glaucoma.
- Individuals of Scandinavian descent may have a higher risk of secondary glaucoma.
- Anyone who has experienced eye trauma may develop glaucoma.
- Other medical conditions like diabetes can increase the risk of glaucoma.
Glaucoma Prevention and Treatment
The only reliable way to detect glaucoma is through an eye exam. Because untreated glaucoma can lead to vision loss or blindness, it’s crucial that you have routine eye exams to test for this condition after the age of 40.
To schedule your next comprehensive eye exam, please contact Patel Eye Associates today. Dr. Patel serves patients in Edison, New Jersey.