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Glaucoma: Are You at Risk?

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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.

Other at- risk groups are persons over the age of 40, and those who suffer from near-sightedness or myopia. Myopia is a condition in which the person may be able to see nearby objects clearly, but objects that are further away seem blurry.

Other risk factors include a family history of glaucoma and long term steroid use. The older the person is, the higher the risk for glaucoma. For example, a 60- year –old’s chances of developing glaucoma are as much as 6 times higher. Injuries to the eye, such as those that occur during a fall or while playing a sport can also increase a person’s chances of developing glaucoma in the future.

If you fall into any of these risk categories, get eye exams regularly.

 

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