The big question. Will you get glaucoma?
Some patients may ask us, will I get glaucoma or is my pressure high? I would love to be able to tell you whether you will get glaucoma, this would make my job a lot easier and I would know exactly when to see you next. However glaucoma is one of those things, some people may get it but have never even heard of it or its risk factors. There are others with a strong family history of it, but never get it their whole lives. It’s like the lottery, or striking gold. It’s all about chance.
The difference between the lottery and glaucoma, is that we can try and predict who may be at more risk of developing the condition. That’s not to say you will get it. It’s like spending big on a lottery ticket doesn’t always mean you’ll hit the jackpot. Now what exactly is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which fluid pressure within the eye rises – if left untreated the patient may lose vision, and even become blind. The disease generally affects both eyes, although one may have more severe signs and symptoms than the other. There are two main types of glaucoma, open angle and closed angle (angle closure) glaucoma. Now enough about what is glaucoma. (Although if you want more information, just press right here). You’re all wondering what are my risks of developing it?
These are the factors which we need to take into consideration. and please, if you have 2 or more of these risk factors please see an optometrist sooner rather than later:
- Age – Caucasians over 50 years of age are at moderate risk, and those over 80 years of age are at high risk of developing glaucoma.
- Family History – The prevalence is three to six times that of general population if any close relatives have glaucoma
- Ethnic Origin – People of African descent have an age-adjusted prevalence of glaucoma 4.3x greater than Caucasians.
- Diabetes – There is almost twice the risk of glaucoma onset among individuals with diabetes
- Myopia – Multiple studies have concluded adjusted for age, that myopes are two to five times more likely to get glaucoma than those who were not myopic.
- Smoking – Current smoking results in a significant increase risk, however past smoking does not affect this risk
- Long-term Steroid Use
- Eye Injury
- Systemic Blood Pressure
As you can see there are many many risk factors and the more you have the more risk you are of developing glaucoma. We want to catch glaucoma as soon as we can and halt its damage, don’t you?