• What is the difference between hereditary glaucoma and glaucoma in elders?


    Question:

    What is the difference between hereditary glaucoma and glaucoma in elders? I have family members who were born with glaucoma and their children have developed glaucoma as well. One child, a boy, was born with glaucoma and the girls developed it as adults.


    Answer:

    One of the primary risk factors for glaucoma is family history. Therefore, a genetic predisposition to glaucoma that runs in families is common. How glaucoma presents within a family, however, is quite variable among different individuals. How a particular trait or gene presents within different members of a family is called "expression." Within the family described, the genetic predisposition to glaucoma is being expressed differently in different individuals. Generally, the younger the age at which glaucoma presents, the higher the eye pressure and the more difficult it is to treat compared to older individuals. In your family there appears to be a strong genetic predisposition to glaucoma. Therefore, it is important for everyone to be sure they see an ophthalmologist early in life and then be checked on a regular basis.


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