Glaucoma is a leading causes of vision loss as a person ages. Glaucoma can be treated and controlled in its early stages, but there is no cure for this condition. It is important for individuals to be pro-active about professional eye care and routine eye exams so that diseases like glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated while they are still manageable.
It is especially important for those at higher risk of glaucoma to schedule regular exams. Here, optometric physician David Masihdas goes over some of the most common glaucoma causes and risk factors so that our Salt Lake City, UT, patients understand if they are more susceptible to this vision-impairing disease.
High Intraocular Pressure
The most well-known cause of glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure. Intraocular pressure increases when fluids within the eye buildup, either because excess fluid is produced or the fluid fails to drain as intended.
As pressure within the eye increases, it causes damage to the optic nerve. Initially, when damage is minor, there may be no noticeable impact on the vision. However, as the optic nerve continues to deteriorate, a person may develop blind spots within the field of vision. Glaucoma is a progressive condition; without treatment, vision loss will get progressively worse, and may even lead to complete blindness.
High Blood Pressure
It is not always known exactly what leads to the increased intraocular pressure that causes glaucoma, but there are several factors that heighten the risk of this disease for our Salt Lake City patients. High blood pressure is one medical condition that has been linked to glaucoma. Individuals with increased blood pressure are more likely to experience a buildup of fluids and pressure within the eye.
Family History of Glaucoma
There are clear indicators that, for many, glaucoma may be a genetic condition. If a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has suffered from glaucoma, then the risk of the disease is greater. It is important that individuals keep track of family medical history so they are aware of the health problems they may encounter.
Race or Ethnicity
Like many health problems, glaucoma is more prevalent among some races and ethnicities than others. There are more cases of glaucoma among individuals who are those classified as black, Asian, or Hispanic than there are among other races and ethnicities.
Prolonged Use of Corticosteroid Medications
Prolonged or repeated use of corticosteroid medications is another known risk factor of glaucoma. The risk increases even further when corticosteroids are taken in eye drop form. Although it is not known exactly why, prolonged use of corticosteroid eye drops seems to increase intraocular pressure for many individuals.
Previous Eye Injury or Surgery
Any of our Salt Lake City patients who have suffered from an eye injury or who have undergone an eye surgery procedure are at greater risk of glaucoma and other eye diseases. We often advise these patients to schedule more frequent eye exams so that we can monitor their eye health and provide early treatment, as needed, for any eye conditions that develop.
Get in Touch
If you have any of the conditions that put you at an increased risk of glaucoma, it is especially important that you schedule comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis. To schedule an appointment with Dr. David Masihdas, call (801) 363-2851, or send us a message to learn more about our comprehensive range of eye care services.