Articles Posted in Glaucoma

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.  According to the results of a new study,  children who have suffered cataracts in infancy have a 22% higher risk of developing glaucoma 10 years later. The results, published in the JAMA Ophthalmology Journal, came from a study which was funded by the National Eye Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health.  Children who have suffered cataracts in their infancy have a much higher risk of developing glaucoma when they get older.

Typically one may think of cataracts as afflicting only older people, but children can also be affected by this condition. In many cases, the cataract is detected by an eye exam soon after birth. In other cases, parents will detect the cataract themselves as the child gets older. Cataracts are especially dangerous in young children because young children’s eyes continue to develop until they are about 10 years old.  Cataracts can affect the development of vision. While the condition may be congenital in some, it may be acquired in others.

According to the researchers, the results indicate that it is important to constantly monitor infants, who have undergone cataract surgery, for glaucoma. In many cases, children with glaucoma undergo an intraocular lens surgery to replace the afflicted lens with an intraocular lens.  However, the research  indicates that replacing the lens with an intraocular lens does not necessarily diminish the chances of developing glaucoma later.

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology released a few interesting facts about glaucoma as part of its commemoration of Glaucoma Awareness Month in January.

According to the Academy, certain categories of people may be at a higher risk for this disease which can lead to permanent and complete blindness. For example, if you are an African American, your risk of developing glaucoma is as much as 6 to 8 times higher than for white Americans.  The reason for this increased risk for African Americans remain unclear, but it is believed that genetic differences play a part in this heightened susceptibility to this disease.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology also believes that Hispanics have as high a risk of glaucoma as African Americans. In fact, in Hispanics, the disease might progress even faster. Asians have an increased risk for the rarer types of the disease, including normal tension glaucoma and angle closure glioma glaucoma.

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