Glaucoma Risk Factors: Tips for Protecting the Eyes

  • By:Dr. Katie Dugan

Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” since it is an eye condition that can cause permanent vision loss with minimal symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This eye condition can occur in people of all ages and ethnicities, although it’s been found that certain risk factors increase the likelihood of a diagnosis. Knowing these risk factors can be helpful to determine the best eye exam schedule and treatment plan with your optometrist.

Risk Factors of Glaucoma

These are some of the risk factors that raise the likelihood of glaucoma diagnosis:

  • Age: The risk of glaucoma goes up for everyone after the age of 50
  • Ethnicity: While glaucoma can affect people of all ethnicities, people who have Hispanic, African, or East Asian ancestry have a higher risk.
  • Genetics: If you have family members with glaucoma (such as siblings or parents), then it means that you might have a higher risk of diagnosis as well. But family history is not always an indicator – some people are diagnosed without any family indications of glaucoma.
  • Smoking: This risk factor is completely preventable. If you want to decrease your risk of glaucoma, then stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke whenever possible.
  • Medications: Certain medications could have an impact on the risk of glaucoma. For example, it’s been suggested that using corticosteroids long-term might increase a person’s glaucoma risk.
  • Blood Circulation: Certain health concerns related to blood circulation can affect the risk of glaucoma, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

Protecting Your Eye Health

Lifestyle is an important factor that plays a role in the development of a variety of eye diseases. If you want to protect your eyesight, then talk to your eye doctor about lifestyle changes. For example, it is helpful to eat a healthy, nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Exercise daily, protect your eyes from sun exposure, and don’t smoke. Also, be sure that you are treating other health conditions that can impact vision, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Also, maintain consistent eye exams so your optometrist can identify early stages of common eye diseases. If it’s time to schedule an appointment, then we invite you to contact our team at our Murrieta office at (951) 600-9226, or our Temecula office at (951) 302-1331.

Posted in: Eye Diseases