Who’s at Risk for Developing Glaucoma?
Millions of Americans have glaucoma, which is a disease that can cause vision loss. Unfortunately, millions more may have the potential to get it, but they don’t even know they’re at risk for developing it.
In this blog, the doctors at Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology discuss what glaucoma is and what the risk factors are for developing the disease. If you have glaucoma, they can give you a thorough examination and provide expert treatment. And if you want to learn more about preventing the disease, they can help with that, too.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma describes a group of eye disorders that cause progressive damage to your optic nerves, the nerves that connect your brain to your eyes. If you have glaucoma, your nerve tissue can shrink, thus causing vision loss. Several types of glaucoma exist.
Primary open-angle glaucoma
This is the most common type of glaucoma. With this type, fluid builds up inside the eye, thus damaging the optic nerve fibers. Experts think the fluid buildup may be due to an inefficient drainage system in the eye.
This less common form of glaucoma can cause rapid vision loss, sometimes within a day of onset. This type is due to blocked drainage canals in the eye.
This type of glaucoma can be caused by an eye injury, disease, or some medications.
Normal-tension or low-tension glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is characterized by damage to the optic nerve, even though eye pressure stays in the normal range.
Who’s at risk for developing glaucoma?
About 3 million men, women, and children in the United States suffer from glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness. Most sufferers are age 40 or older.
If you have high eye pressure, that doesn’t mean you will develop glaucoma. Furthermore, if you develop glaucoma, you may not have high eye pressure. Elevated eye pressure, though, is one risk factor in developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of the disease
- Being age 60 or older in the general population or being age 40 or older in the African American community
- Thin corneas
- Optic nerves where the space at the center of the nerve is larger than normal
- Severe nearsightedness
- High blood pressure
- Eye injury
- Eye surgery
- Corticosteroids use
What can be done about glaucoma?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for glaucoma. However, early detection and treatment can slow or prevent vision loss.
Treatments for open-angle glaucoma may include using eye drops to help with fluid drainage and to decrease the amount of fluid produced by the eye.
Other treatments may include laser and conventional surgery as well as medications, all of which may be able to help protect the optic nerve.
If you have glaucoma or want to learn more about preventing it, book an appointment online or over the phone with Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology today.