Are you more at risk for glaucoma than you realize? Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness in the world. Most surprisingly, of the estimated three million Americans who suffer from Glaucoma, more than 50% are not even aware they have it!
Despite a lack of noticeable symptoms, there are several important risk factors to be aware of as virtually EVERYONE is technically at risk for glaucoma.
|GROUP||INCREASE IN RISK|
|Family Members with Glaucoma||4 to 9 times higher risk|
|African Americans||6 to 8 times higher risk|
|People Over 60||6 times higher risk|
|Steroid Use||40% increase in open angle glaucoma|
|Hispanics or Asians||Higher risk|
|History of Eye Injury or Migraines||Higher risk|
The chart above underscores how family history and genetic make-up are far and away the biggest risk factors. If you have family members with glaucoma, you need to be screened. If you don’t know if anyone in your family has had glaucoma, you need to ask!
Age is another big risk factor as is steroid use, which could mean extended use of steroid-based prescription allergy medications or inhalers for asthma.
How the Disease Progresses
Without screening and proper treatment, glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye, usually from an increase in pressure from excess internal fluid. When the optic nerve is damaged, blind spots and loss of peripheral vision can occur with risk of blindness increasing as time goes by.
While high eye pressure is a big part of what causes damage to the eye when glaucoma strikes, it is painless, which allows the disease to progress undetected. Some late-stage symptoms that should never be ignored, include:
- Poor night vision
- Blind spots in peripheral vision
- Chronic redness
- Severe headaches or eye pain
- Glare or halo around lights
- Watery eyes
Glaucoma is Treatable
If you have a family history of glaucoma or any reason to think you may be at risk, count on Medical Optometry America as a comprehensive resource for screening, advanced testing and world-class treatment options.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60, but it doesn’t have to be. It is very treatable If you are unsure if you are at risk, an MOA Annual Eye Physical is a great place to start your journey to eye health. The state-of-the-art exams will provide thorough risk assessment and advanced testing for glaucoma and other serious eye diseases.
Our website offers more detailed resources on glaucoma if you are interested in learning more.