If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are at a higher risk of eventually having it yourself. But your risk is much higher when your immediate family, e.g., both your parents have this serious eye disease. Your risk of developing it could be up to nine times higher than those who do not have family members with it. Here are a few things you should know about your risk for getting glaucoma.

What is Glaucoma?

The most common form of glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma, which is the type that is most likely to be inherited from a family member. Fluid pressure increases inside the eye and causes damage to the optic nerve. The problem is that many people have this condition but do not know it until they experience significant vision loss. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness.

How is it Treated?

There is no cure for glaucoma. If you know you are at an increased risk of developing this eye disease, it is crucial that you have a comprehensive eye exam every year. The eye doctor will perform various tests and measure your eyes’ pressure. When it is caught at an early stage, there are treatments available to lower your eye pressure and help preserve your vision. The typical course of treatment is prescription eye drops, but sometimes laser treatments or surgery may be needed.

Reducing Your Risk for Glaucoma

While you cannot change your genetic risk, you should be aware of any other risk factors that you might have for glaucoma, including:

  • Being over the age of 60; 40 if you are African American
  • Have had previous injuries to your eyes
  • Certain medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Using corticosteroid medications for a prolonged period
  • Eye anatomy, such as thin corneas, retinal detachment, optic nerve sensitivity, eye inflammation, or being extremely nearsighted

Don’t let glaucoma rob you of your eyesight. If you know you are at a higher risk because of hereditary, don’t skip your yearly eye exam. Contact Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to schedule your next exam today at one of our offices.