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. These “Glaucoma Risk Factors” are important to understand in assessing your own personal risk for developing Glaucoma. Glaucoma risk factors include the following:
- High Intraocular Pressure
A key warning sign of Glaucoma is having a higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Anyone with an elevated Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is considered to be at risk for developing Glaucoma.
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-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 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.
Certain patients who are severely nearsighted have a higher risk of developing Glaucoma. This is believed to be due to extremely nearsighted eyes having anatomical features that can increase their risk of Glaucoma.
- Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
It is absolutely critical that patients who have hypertension or high blood pressure take their prescribed medication on a consistent basis. However, 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 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.
- 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.
- Other Glaucoma Risk Factors
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 .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. The Eye Center in Denver provides comprehensive diagnostic testing and treatment for Glaucoma, as well as taking the time necessary to give each patient the personal education needed to fully understand their condition.
The Eye Center is conveniently located for patients concerned about Glaucoma risk factors or needing an eye examination for Glaucoma from Denver, Aurora, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Westminster, Commerce City, Englewood, Littleton, Sheridan, Cherry Hills Village, Northglenn, Broomfield and Greenwood Village. If you, a family member or friend, would like to schedule an eye examination for Glaucoma, please call The Eye Center in Denver, Colorado at 303-777-5455