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Understanding Glaucoma -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Glaucoma?

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.

Understanding Glaucoma

Find out more about glaucoma:

Basics

Symptoms

Treatment

Prevention

Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:

  • Being of African, Hispanic, Inuit, Irish, Asian, Russian, or Scandinavian descent.
  • Having a family history of glaucoma.
  • Being nearsighted.
  • Having poor vision from a different eye problem.
  • Having had serious eye trauma.
  • Taking any form of steroid medications (pills, inhalers, eye drops) for diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • 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.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on March 20, 2014

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