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Glaucoma - What Increases Your Risk

Open-angle glaucoma (OAG)

Risk factors for OAG include:

  • High pressure in the eyes. OAG is often linked with higher-than-normal pressure in the eyes (intraocular pressure, or IOP). Not all people with OAG have high IOP. But this is one treatable risk factor that doctors look for.
  • Age. The risk for glaucoma increases rapidly after age 40.
  • Race. Blacks are more likely than whites to have glaucoma.
  • Family history of glaucoma. You're at risk for OAG if a relative has primary OAG, which is OAG that's not caused by another condition.
  • Prior loss of vision in one eye from glaucoma. Damage in one eye from glaucoma is linked with a higher risk of future damage in the other eye.
  • Diabetes. People who have diabetes tend to have higher pressure in their eyes than those who don't have the disease. People who have diabetes are also at risk for a type of secondary glaucoma where new blood vessels grow into and block the drainage angle of the eye.

Closed-angle glaucoma (CAG)

Risk factors for CAG camera.gif include:

  • Race. People from East Asia or with East Asian ancestry, as well as Inuit peoples, are more likely than other people to develop CAG.1
  • Age. People over age 40 are at increased risk for CAG.
  • Being female. Older women are more likely than older men to develop CAG.
  • Farsightedness. People who are farsighted camera.gif are more likely to develop this condition. That's because their eyes are smaller and the drainage angles of the eyes tend to be narrower, which allows them to become blocked more easily.
  • Family history. People who have a family history of CAG are more likely to develop the condition.
  • Having CAG in one eye. This increases the risk of getting the condition in the other eye. About half of the people who have had acute closed-angle glaucoma in one eye develop CAG in the second eye within 5 years.1

Congenital glaucoma

Risk factors for congenital glaucoma include:

  • Infection in the mother during pregnancy. Babies born to mothers who have certain viral infections such as rubella during pregnancy are more likely to have the condition.
  • Family history. A small number of infants with congenital glaucoma inherit the condition.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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