Glaucoma Risk Factors
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can irreversibly affect eye health and the ability for the eye to function properly. In fact, this disease is one of the leading causes of blindness. One of the problems with glaucoma is that it usually does not result in any early symptoms or warning signs. Most patients are unaware that there is a problem until their vision is affected. This is why regular eye exams are so important. However, it is also important for patients to understand the risk factors that can make a person more likely to suffer from glaucoma. The eye doctors at Deen-Gross Eye Centers discuss glaucoma risk factors with their Merrillville patients so that they know if they are in the high-risk group for this damaging condition.
What Is Glaucoma?
Before discussing the risk factors for glaucoma, it is important that patients understand what this condition is. Glaucoma is an eye disease that occurs when the optic nerves are damaged. This is often the result of a number of different eye conditions that place the optic nerves under pressure, most often due to fluid failing to drain from the eye properly. Instead the fluid builds up at the back of the eye and begins to negatively impact the vision.
Any patient can suffer from glaucoma, but there are certain patients who are at a higher risk for developing this harmful eye disease. Some of the characteristics or conditions that are known to be risk factors for glaucoma include the following:
- Certain health problems: Patients who suffer from certain medical conditions are at an increased risk for glaucoma. Some health problems that have been linked to glaucoma include diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- Other eye conditions: There are many eye conditions that can increase eye pressure, and, therefore increase the risk of glaucoma. Some of these conditions include an eye injury, eye tumors, and retinal detachment. Undergoing eye surgery also increases the risk of glaucoma.
- Genetics: As with many other health problems, glaucoma is a condition that runs in the family. Patients with a family history of glaucoma should be sure to have their eyes examined on a regular basis.
- Ethnicity: Statistics show that there are certain ethnicities that are more prone to developing glaucoma. For example, African-Americans and Asians have a greater risk of developing glaucoma than Caucasians. African-Americans are also at risk of developing the condition earlier in life.
- Age: Age does significantly increase a patient’s risk of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a particular risk once patients reach their 60s.
The damage caused by glaucoma cannot be reversed, but with early detection and treatment, the condition can typically be controlled so that vision can be preserved. Every situation is unique, but our eye doctors can discuss treatment options such as prescription medication, eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery.
If you have questions about glaucoma and its treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more. Our team of experienced eye doctors can answer any question you may have regarding glaucoma or the overall health of the eyes. We look forward to hearing from you.