Am I At Risk Of Glaucoma?

As our glaucoma entry for our ‘in focus’ series explores the condition, we now look at whether you’re at risk of glaucoma.

Our previous blog covers what the condition is, symptoms, the different types of glaucoma and treatment.

Am I at risk of developing glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness.

That’s why it’s vital to be aware of risk factors and speak to your optician as early as possible.

There are a number of risk factors for glaucoma, ranging from age and ethnicity to blood pressure.

Some of the types of glaucoma share certain risk factors, such as a family history of the condition.

That’s why if glaucoma runs in your family, your optician will monitor your eye health, and you may receive more frequent sight tests.

Did you know that it’s possible to be at risk of one type of glaucoma, but not another?

Potential v strong risk factors

It’s possible to divide some risk factors into potential and strong.

For instance, the use of corticosteroids like eye drops and inhalers are a potential risk factor for open-angle glaucoma.

On the other hand, having a thin cornea is a strong risk factor.

Either way, don’t ignore your symptoms and let your optician know.

Open-angle glaucoma risk factors

This type of glaucoma is most likely to develop in people of black-African or black-Caribbean heritage.

If you’re from these backgrounds, you’re at risk of open-angle from the age of 40.

Whereas, if you’re from any other ethnicity, you’re more at risk from the age of 60.

It’s interesting that this type of glaucoma only affects1-2% of the white population.

Angle-closure glaucoma risk factors

Angle-closure glaucoma is less common fin the UK than open-angle.

However, Eastern Asians are at greater risk of developing this form of glaucoma.

Your risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma also increases if you have an eye injury or eye surgery.

If you suffer from an eye injury, you should ring your optician and follow their advice.

Normal-tension glaucoma

Normal-tension glaucoma is an exception, as you can develop this type of glaucoma even if you have normal eye pressure.

Naturally, you can be at risk of normal-tension glaucoma and not other types of the condition.

Your risk of normal-tension also increases if you have cardiovascular disease or if you have Japanese heritage.

What to do if you’re concerned about your eye health

If you have concerns about your eyes, you should speak to your optician.

You should provide your full family history and answer all lifestyle questions honestly.

Protect your eyes

Proactive eye care is essential to keep your eyes healthy to try and reduce your chance of developing the condition.

However, practising daily eye care does not guarantee that you will avoid glaucoma.

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