The first step: Get an eye exam. All adults need to be checked for glaucoma every 3 to 5 years. You’ll want to see an eye doctor -- either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. If someone in your family had glaucoma, or if you have other risk factors, your doctor may want to check you more often.
Your doctor might find out that you’re at risk during a comprehensive eye exam before you have an attack.
You might be more likely to get it if you:
- Are of African, Hispanic, Inuit, Irish, Asian, Russian, or Scandinavian descent
- Have a family history of glaucoma
- Are nearsighted
- Are farsighted enough to require thick eyeglass lenses -- that means your eye is small and may be crowded inside
- Have poor vision from a different eye problem
- Had serious eye trauma
- Take any form of steroid medications (pills, inhalers, eye drops) for diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
- Take certain drugs for bladder control, seizures, or even certain over-the-counter cold remedies
Most of the things that make you likely to get glaucoma are beyond your control. But an early diagnosis will help you protect yourself. Start with an eye exam.