Glaucoma Risk Factors and Symptoms

GlaucomaRecent studies have shown that women who take the birth control are more at risk of developing the eye problem, glaucoma. However, there are a number of other risk factors associated with the disease and it is worth knowing the symptoms of glaucoma if you are at risk. This will help you get treatment quickly to help slow the blinding condition down.

Risk Factors for Glaucoma

Anyone can get this condition and it does eventually lead to blindness. It may sound like there is no hope but there are certain people who are more likely to suffer from it than others. Women who take the birth control pill are one of those groups but there are many others.

The over 60 are highly at risk. The whole eye health starts to deteriorate around this time and pressures start to rise. This is why eye tests every year are recommended in most countries after a person reaches 60-years-old. In fact, the chances of getting the difficult eye disease after 60 rises to six times likely.

Those who have family members who have had open-angle are more at risk and it is important to look out for the symptoms. They have their eye pressures checked at each eye test to make sure the warning signs are not there. The chance lessens as it skips generations. For example, someone with a grandparent who had it is less likely than someone with a sibling who has it.

Certain races are more likely to develop the condition. These include African-Americans who have had cataracts, Hispanics who are over 60-years-old, Asians and the Japanese.

Glaucoma Common Symptoms

The open-angle version of the disease is the most common type diagnosed. However, there are others, including angle-closure and secondary versions.

For the most common, the symptoms are slow to progress and most people don’t even realize they have a problem until their eyesight disappears. The peripheral vision is the first to go and then it works its way inwards. Field tests that use flashing lights to test the different parts of the vision are used to help determine this. Pressure tests are also done as this is a sign of the blinding condition.

The angle-closure version is much less likely but is also extremely severe. The symptoms happen quickly and include pain, headaches and eye redness. Many patients complain that they have halos around their eyes or that they’re seeing rainbow rings. The loss of eyesight happens very quickly and it can be very depressing as it happens. The symptoms often come and go but each time the vision will get worse. The good news is that early treatment can prevent it getting worse but you need to see your doctor or optometrist.

Knowing the symptoms and risk factors of glaucoma will help slow down the problem. It can be very depressing knowing that your vision is going but early treatment is extremely important for prevention. Visiting your optometrist on a yearly basis or every two years, depending on your age, is the best thing that you can do and book an appointment if you have any of the above symptoms.

By Alexandria Ingham

Glaucoma Research Foundation

NHS Choices

Business Standard

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