March 9-15 is Glaucoma Awareness Week (Part 3): Are You at Risk for Glaucoma?

March 9-15 is Glaucoma Awareness Week (Part 3): Are You at Risk for Glaucoma?
It’s Glaucoma Awareness Week from March 9 to 15. Learn how you can protect yourself from this eye condition and determine the risk factors that lead you to it.

 Glaucoma is a widespread condition and the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. Despite that, many people still know little about the disease. Here are five interesting facts about glaucoma.

  1. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, along with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts, which is the leading cause of blindness in the world.

  2. Glaucoma can lead to blindness left without proper treatment. The sad thing about this, however, is that roughly 10% of those suffering from this eye condition who have received proper treatment can still experience vision loss.

  3. As of this moment, there has been no proven cure (yet) for the eye disease. Glaucoma is not something that can be cured, and lost eyesight cannot be regained. However, surgery or medication could help prevent further vision loss. However, since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it has to be monitored throughout life.

  4. Nobody is exempt from the possibility of getting glaucoma. From babies to senior citizens, every single one is at risk. There are however, certain risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing one, which will be discussed below.

  5. There are instances when there are no symptoms to warn individuals of glaucoma. The most common type, which is open-angle glaucoma, has virtually no symptoms. There is an absence of pain with increased eye pressure. Vision loss starts with peripheral vision, but it is not felt outright as your body has an instinctive tendency to compensate for this (unconsciously) by turning your head to the side. Some people do notice anything amiss until a significant portion of their vision has been lost. The best way to protect your sight, therefore is to regularly have your eyes tested by an Arizona eye doctor. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, then treatment can begin as soon as possible.

 

Risk Factors

As was mentioned earlier, everyone is at risk for various types of glaucoma. However, there are certain groups who are at a higher risk than some. If you are at high risk for this eye condition, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a trusted Arizona eye doctor and request for an eye exam that includes eye dilation test for at least every one or two years.

  • African Americans – Glaucoma is around six to eight times more common in individuals of African American descent.

  • People Aged 60 and Above – Older people have a higher tendency to develop glaucoma. In fact you fall under this category you are six times more likely to get it.

  • Family Members with Glaucoma – Open-angle glaucoma can be inherited by children. If your relatives suffer from it, then that places you at a much higher risk than everyone else (four to nine times more likely).

  • Older Hispanics – There are recent studies that report how Hispanic populations have a greater risk for glaucoma than if they were predominantly of European ancestry. It also indicated how the risk heightens among Hispanics who reach or pass the age of 60.

  • Asians – Even Asians, as well as those of Asian descent have an increased risk for angle-closure glaucoma. Those of Japanese descent are also at a higher risk for developing normal-tension glaucoma.

  • Steroid Usage – There are a couple of research that link steroid use to the development of glaucoma. A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 1997 showed how there is a 40% increase in ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma cases among adults who use around 14 to 35 puffs of steroid inhalers for the management of asthma.

  • Eye Injuries – Injuries to the eye can cause secondary open-angle glaucoma. The condition can either occur right after the injury or gradually develop and detected years later. Blunt trauma to the eye or injuries that directly penetrate the eye can damage the drainage system within, causing traumatic glaucoma.

  • Other possible risk factors include high myopia (nearsightedness), hypertension, and central corneal thickness less than .5 mm.

For more questions regarding glaucoma and complete eye exams, visit your trusted Arizona eye doctor for a consultation.