Glaucoma is a condition that results in damage to the optic nerve, often leading to progressive peripheral vision loss. Although anyone can develop this condition, certain people are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. If you fall into one of these categories, you should visit an optometrist in your area for a complete eye exam that includes tests for glaucoma.
Over The Age of 40
Patients over the age of 40 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma compared to younger patients. Even if you were tested for glaucoma when you were younger, you may have developed the condition in the meantime, and you should certainly be re-tested if you are age 40 or older.
African American or Hispanic
People of African and Hispanic descent are more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians and Asians. Hispanics over the age of 60, and African Americans over the age of 40, experience more glaucoma than all other age/race subsets.
Family History of Glaucoma
Does your father or mother have glaucoma? The condition has a genetic component, which means that you are more likely to develop the condition if another member of your family has it. Ask your family member when he or she was first diagnosed with glaucoma. You are likely to start showing signs around the same age.
High Blood Pressure
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you are also at an increased risk of glaucoma. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause the pressure in your eyes to increase, and this often contributes to the development of glaucoma. Keeping your blood pressure under control with dietary modification or prescription drugs is important for lowering your risk of glaucoma.
Taking Certain Medications
Certain medications increase your risk of glaucoma, and you should visit your eye doctor regularly if you are taking them. These medications include corticosteroid drugs, anti-Parkinson's medications, some antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and antispasmolytic drugs. If you are not sure whether a drug you are taking falls into one of these classes, contact your physician or eye doctor like Bonnie Doon Eye Care, and ask.
The American Optometric Association recommends annual testing for glaucoma for all patients who are at an increased risk for this condition. If you fall into any of the above categories, you are considered to be at risk. As long as glaucoma is detected early, medications can be used to slow its progression so you can continue to see clearly for years to come.