It is not possible to prevent chronic open-angle glaucoma, but early detection and effective treatment will prevent significant damage to the eyes and preserve your sight. All adults need an eye exam that includes tests for glaucoma every three to five years. These tests are usually done by an eye doctor -- either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. If someone in your family has had glaucoma or if you have other risk factors for glaucoma, your doctor may suggest more frequent eye exams.
People who might develop narrow-angle glaucoma can often be diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam prior to an attack of this form of glaucoma. Once diagnosed as being someone at risk for the disorder, laser surgery can greatly reduce that risk.
Extreme farsightedness (people requiring very thick eyeglass lenses which magnify the appearance of the eye) is associated with small eyes and crowded structures within the eye. This may lead to angle closure glaucoma.
Under rare circumstances, certain drugs can increase the risk of developing glaucoma. For example, drugs for bladder control, seizures, or even certain over-the-counter cold remedies, can increase glaucoma risk.
Most of the factors that influence the chances for developing glaucoma are beyond your control, but there are things you can do to protect yourself with early diagnosis. Begin by scheduling an eye exam.
SOURCES: American Glaucoma Society. Weinreb, R. Lancet, 2004. Curcio, C. Journal of Comparative Neurology, Oct. 1, 1990. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Glaucoma Research Foundation. U.S. Preventive Services Task force: "Screening for Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma in the Primary Care Setting." Mayo Clinic. Distelhorst, J. American Family Physician, May 1, 2003.