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Glaucoma Risk Factors

While everyone is at risk for developing Glaucoma, certain factors by themselves or in combination with one another can increase your risk of developing Glaucoma. These Glaucoma risk factors include the following:

High Intraocular Pressure

Anyone with a higher than normal Intraocular Pressure (IOP) is considered to be at risk of developing Glaucoma.


There is a relationship between your age and the likelihood of developing Glaucoma. In fact, the incidence of Glaucoma increases with age and becomes much more frequent after the age of 40. You are six times more likely to get Glaucoma if you above age 60 even without any other predisposing family or health risk factors.


Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African-Americans. African-Americans have genetic factors that place them at six to eight times greater risk of developing Glaucoma. Asians appear to have higher risk for developing Narrow Angle Glaucoma and Hispanics over the age of 60 seem to be at increased risk.


Patients who are moderately to extremely nearsighted may have anatomical features that can increase the risk of Glaucoma.

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure

If you have hypertension and are taking medications to lower your blood pressure, you should be aware that by lowering the blood pressure in your optic nerve you may be at greater risk for Glaucoma.


Diabetes causes a number of problems with your general circulation and blood vessels. Thus, if you are being treated for diabetes you are considered to be at greater risk for Glaucoma.

Family History

If anyone in your family has Glaucoma, this is a very significant risk factor. If any other family members have been diagnosed with Glaucoma, your risk of developing Glaucoma increases four to nine fold times over the general population. This is particularly true for siblings of Glaucoma patients have a 5-fold increase in risk for developing Glaucoma.

Corneal Thickness

The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) demonstrated that central corneal thickness as measured by pachymetry is a powerful predictor of Glaucoma. Eyes with central corneal thickness of less then 555 microns have a threefold increase in developing Glaucoma over those with central corneal thickness of 588 microns.

Miscellaneous Factors

If you have had trauma to your eyes (i.e. a sports injury or car accident) or if you have been treated for Asthma for long periods of time with steroid inhalers, you too may have an increased risk for Glaucoma.

About Glaucoma
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Types of Glaucoma: Open Angle Glaucoma & Angle Closure Glaucoma
Testing & Diagnosis of Glaucoma
Medical, Laser & Surgical Treatment of Glaucoma
Updates & News About Glaucoma

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©2011 The Medical Management Services Group

updated 2/27/11