Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve, or the nerve that transmits visual signals from the eye to the brain. Nicknamed “The Silent Thief of Sight,” glaucoma often does not cause noticeable symptoms until it has progressed considerably. Because it can advance “silently,” it’s important to be aware of the risk factors for glaucoma and be diligent about scheduling regular eye exams to check for signs of the disease.
According to the team at Eye Care of San Diego, the following groups are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Glaucoma tends to affect those over the age of 60.
Asian, Hispanic and African American Populations
African Americans, Asians and Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to develop glaucoma. In fact, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than in Caucasians.
Those with a Family History of Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common type of glaucoma, is more common in individuals that have a family history of glaucoma for example a parent or sibling with glaucoma.
Those with Hyperopia
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is another risk factor for the less common type of glaucoma, known as angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma.
Those that Have Sustained an Eye Injury
A blunt injury (such as a sports injury) or trauma to the eye can cause changes that lead to glaucoma.
Evidence suggests that adults that take a high dose of steroid medications (such as a steroid inhaler for asthma) may be at a higher risk of glaucoma than those that don’t.
Managing the Risk of Glaucoma
If you fall into one or more of these groups, our eye doctors recommend you have regular comprehensive eye exams with an ophthalmologist or optometrist. During these exams, the doctor uses special techniques and instruments to look for signs of glaucoma. If they find something, they can discuss starting a treatment regimen as soon as possible to prevent the diseases from advancing. If you experience changes in your vision between annual eye exams, consult with your doctor.