Factors that increase a person’s risk generally include:
· Increased Intraocular Pressure (IOP) – Anyone who has been found to have an elevated intraocular pressure at a glaucoma screening or as part of a general eye examination is considered to be at risk for developing glaucoma.
· Increasing Age – The incidence of glaucoma increases as we get older. Typically the incidence of glaucoma becomes much more noticeable above the age of 40 years old. This is why routine eye examinations with glaucoma evaluation are recommended every 2 years above the age of 40, if there is no other family or medical history, and more often if there is a preexisting history of glaucoma in the family or other predisposing heath factors.
· Race – African-Americans to have certain genetic factors that cause a higher likelihood of developing glaucoma.
· High Blood Pressure – Those patients who are being medically treated for high blood pressure may be at greater risk for glaucoma due to the lowering of the blood pressure within the optic nerve.
· Family History of Glaucoma – Family history of glaucoma is a very significant risk factor. If any other family members have been diagnosed with glaucoma, your risk of developing glaucoma increases considerably. This is particularly true for siblings of glaucoma patients, who have a 5-fold increase in risk for developing glaucoma.
· Diabetes – Anyone being treated for diabetes is considered to be at greater risk for glaucoma due to the general circulation problems associated with diabetes.
· Myopia (nearsightedness) – In general patients who are nearsighted have anatomical features that may increase the risk of glaucoma.
· Long-term Steroid Treatment
· Injury/Trauma To The Eye
Dr. Thom will weigh all of these factors before deciding whether you need treatment for glaucoma, or whether you should be monitored closely as a glaucoma suspect, meaning your risk of developing glaucoma is higher than normal, and you need to have regular eye examinations to detect the early signs of damage to the optic nerve.