Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that often leads to permanent vision loss if left untreated. It occurs when abnormally high eye pressure causes damage to the optic nerve.
While anyone can develop glaucoma, you might be more at risk if you can identify with certain risk factors. Keep reading to learn who is most at risk for glaucoma!
You have a Family History of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is often hereditary, so it is essential to be familiar with your family’s medical history. You are even more likely to develop glaucoma if you have a brother or sister who has glaucoma.
You are Over the Age of Forty
As you age, your chances of developing glaucoma increase. While being diagnosed with glaucoma at age forty is rare, you should make sure you are getting your eyes checked for glaucoma after you turn forty.
You are of African American or Asian Descent
If you belong to either of these ethnic groups, you are at increased risk for glaucoma. There is no clear research that points to why, but African Americans are five times more likely than average to develop glaucoma.
Individuals of Asian descent are more at risk for developing specific types of glaucoma.
You have Thin Corneas
A thin cornea can allow for higher eye pressure levels, which can lead to glaucoma over time. Having thin corneas can also lead to more serious effects from glaucoma, like severe visual field loss and a more rapid progression of the eye condition
You Have Had an Eye Injury or Intensive Eye Surgery
The damage or trauma to the eye from a serious eye injury or eye surgery can result in increased unrelieved pressure in your eye, resulting in the development of glaucoma. Children who undergo cataract removal surgery while young may be at a higher risk for developing glaucoma later in life.
You Have Other Health Conditions
Health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can increase the likelihood that you will develop glaucoma. Keeping your body healthy will lower your chances of developing certain eye conditions.
You Have a Strong Glasses Prescription
You may also have a higher risk of developing glaucoma if you are extremely nearsighted or farsighted. Individuals who are nearsighted are especially at risk as worsening nearsightedness causes changes to retinal nerve fibers and macular thickness, which can lead to glaucoma.
You Use or Have Used Corticosteroid Medications
The long-term use of corticosteroid medications can be a trigger for glaucoma. Over time, these medications may cause increased intraocular pressure as they work to fight inflammation, though researchers are not entirely sure why.
Knowing your risk factors is an important way to protect the quality of your vision, but even more important is scheduling regular eye exams, which include comprehensive dilated eye exams. These exams allow your eye care provider to get a detailed look at the structures within your eye and identify the signs of developing glaucoma.
Early diagnosis can help preserve the quality and clarity of your eyesight against the sight-stealing effects of glaucoma.
Are you at risk for developing glaucoma? Schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center at one of our 5 locations in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, today!