• Who Is at Risk for Glaucoma?

    Written by: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed by: J Kevin McKinney MD
    Jan. 10, 2015

    Some people are at greater risk for developing glaucoma and should see their ophthalmologist on a regular basis, specifically for glaucoma testing.

    People with more risk of developing glaucoma include people who:

    • are over age 40;
    • have family members with glaucoma;
    • are of African or Hispanic heritage;
    • are of Asian heritage (Asians are at increased risk of angle closure glaucoma and Japanese are at increased risk of low tension glaucoma);
    • have high eye pressure;
    • are farsighted or nearsighted;
    • have had an eye injury;
    • have corneas that are thin in the center; or
    • have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body.

    Talk with an ophthalmologist about your risk for getting glaucoma. People with more than one of these risk factors have an even higher risk of glaucoma.

    Early detection and treatment can protect your vision.

    People of any age with glaucoma symptoms or glaucoma risk factors, such as those with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma, or those of African descent, should see an ophthalmologist for an exam. Your ophthalmologist will let you know how often to return for follow-up exams.

    Adults with no symptoms of or risk factors for eye disease should have a complete eye disease screening by age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to happen. Based on the results of the initial screening, your ophthalmologist will let you know how often to return for follow-up exams.

    Adults 65 or older should have an eye exam every one to two years, or as recommended by your ophthalmologist.

    People of Asian descent and those with hyperopia (farsightedness) tend to be more at risk for narrow-angle glaucoma (also known as angle-closure glaucoma or closed-angle glaucoma).

    If you have received a glaucoma diagnosis from your Eye M.D., your doctor will talk about possible treatment options, such as glaucoma eyedrops and/or glaucoma surgery.