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Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?



Glaucoma can affect anyone, regardless of his/her race, gender or family history . Because of this, everyone should be concerned with the potential damage Glaucoma could cause to their vision and life.

Regular eye examinations by a qualified eye provider, like the doctors at EyeHealth Northwest, are the only way to detect glaucoma in its early stages. Early detection could save your vision.

The following factors increase your risk of glaucoma:

  • Increased eye pressure
  • Family history of glaucoma (especially parents or siblings)
  • African-American, Hispanic or Asian Descent
  • Older than 45 years of age
  • Severe Nearsightedness
  • History of eye injury causing bleeding inside the eye
  • Systemic health problems, including diabetes, migraine headaches, and poor circulation.
  • Chronic use of medications containing steroids - especially eye drops/ointments, nasal sprays, inhalers or pills taken by mouth (examples include cortisone, prednisone).

African-Americans

African Americans are much more likely to go blind from glaucoma than Caucasians of the same age. The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends that African-Americans should have a thorough eye exam every 1-2 years starting at age 35.

Asian Descent

Angle closure glaucoma is much more common in those of Asian descent, as well as persons of Eskimo and Inuit descent. Early and regular eye examinations are recommended and must include Gonioscopy (a technique to determine if the anterior chamber angle is open or closed).

Hispanic Descent

Recent research in large Hispanic populations has shown an increased risk of glaucoma similar to that already demonstrated for African-Americans. More information is needed in this area, but persons of Hispanic descent should have eye exams earlier and more frequently.

How often should I be checked for glaucoma?

Regular eye exams are the only way to find glaucoma before it causes severe vision loss. The physicians and surgeons at EyeHealth Northwest recommend the following guidelines, but you should be seen more frequently if you have any of the risk factors discussed above (at least once a year).

  • Age 40 and under: Once every three years
  • Age 40 - 65: Once every two years
  • Age 65 and over: Annually

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