People at high risk for glaucoma should see a doctor now for a complete eye exam, including eye dilation. Your eye doctor will tell you how often to have follow-up exams based on the results of this eye health screening.
The following are groups at higher risk for developing glaucoma.
After cataracts, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans and people of African descent. Glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than in Caucasians.
People Over 60
Glaucoma is much more common among older people. You are six times more likely to get glaucoma if you are over 60 years old.
Family Members with Glaucoma
The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary. If members of your immediate family have glaucoma, you are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population.
Family history increases risk of glaucoma four to nine times.
Hispanics in Older Age Groups
Recent studies indicate that the risk for Hispanic populations is greater than those of predominantly European ancestry, and that the risk increases among Hispanics over age 60.
People of Asian descent appear to be at increased risk for angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma accounts for less than 10% of all diagnosed cases of glaucoma. People of Japanese descent are at higher risk for normal-tension glaucoma.
Some evidence links steroid use to glaucoma. A 1997 study reported in the Journal of American Medical Association demonstrated a 40% increase in the incidence of ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma in adults who require approximately 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhaler to control asthma. This is a very high dose, only required in cases of severe asthma.
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.
The most common cause is sports-related injuries such as baseball or boxing.
Other Risk Factors
Other possible risk factors include:
- High myopia (nearsightedness)
- Central corneal thickness less than .5 mm.
Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness, and therefore everyone needs to be aware of this disease. However, certain people are at a greater risk of developing this disease than others.
These include: people over the age of forty, individuals who are severely myopic or nearsighted, people who have diabetes, people diagnosed with hypertension, long term steroid or cortisone users, people of African or Mediterranean descent, people who have family members with the disease, individuals who have experienced a serious injury or trauma to their eye, those who have high intra ocular pressure, and people with enlarged optic nerves. Glaucoma is a highly detectable disease. It is essential that high-risk glaucoma patients have annual eye examinations to ensure continued ocular health.
Reviewed on May 13, 2022