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Glaucoma is characterized by increased pressure in the eye that results in damage to the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries the images we see to the brain.

What are the risk factors for glaucoma?

  • Age (65 years and older)
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • African, Asian or Spanish ancestry
  • Farsightedness or nearsightedness
  • Past eye injuries
  • Thinner central corneal thickness
  • Pre-existing thinning of the optic nerve
  • Not having eye examinations at the recommended
  • Steroid use
  • Other health problems like diabetes, low blood pressure or
    migraine headaches

Your ophthalmologist, Eye M.D., will weigh all of these factors before deciding whether you need treatment. You may simply need to be monitored closely. This means your risk of developing glaucoma is higher than normal. Make sure to have regular examinations to detect the early signs of damage to the optic nerve.

Individuals with risk factors for glaucoma (e.g. family history of glaucoma or African or Hispanic/Latino descent) should have an eye examination every two to four years under 40 years of age, every one to three years between 40 and 54 years, every one to two years between age 55 and 64 years, and every six to 12 months for age 65 or older.

Regular medical eye exams can help prevent unnecessary vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology now recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease at age 40 —the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams.