Glaucoma: Types and Risk Factors
Types of Glaucoma:
Chronic (Open Angle) Glaucoma: This is the most common type. In open angle glaucoma, aqueous fluid drains too slowly and pressure inside the eye builds up. It usually results from aging of the drainage channel, which doesn’t work as well over time. However, younger people can also get this type of glaucoma.
Normal Tension Glaucoma: This is a form of open angle glaucoma not related to high pressure. People with normal tension glaucoma may be unusually sensitive to normal levels of pressure. Reduced blood supply to the optic nerve may also play a role in normal tension glaucoma.
Acute (Angle Closure) Glaucoma: This causes a sudden rise in eye pressure, requiring immediate, emergency medical care. The signs are usually serious and may include blurred vision, severe headaches, eye pain, nausea, vomiting or seeing rainbow-like halos around lights. Occasionally, the condition may be without symptoms; similar to open angle.
Secondary Glaucoma: Another 10 percent of glaucoma cases come from certain diseases and conditions that damage the eye’s drainage system. These include diabetes, leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, some forms of arthritis, cataracts, eye injuries or inflammation of the eye, steroid drug use and growth of unhealthy blood vessels.
Post-surgical Glaucoma: Some surgeries, such as retinal reattachments, increase the chance of getting glaucoma.
Glaucoma Risk Factors:
- Age: Those that are 40 and older are more likely to develop glaucoma. The older you are, the greater your risk.
- Race: People of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage are more likely to get glaucoma than the rest of the population. They are also more likely to develop glaucoma at a younger age.
- Family History: If you have a parent or sibling who has glaucoma, you are more likely to develop the disease.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher risk (40 percent) of developing glaucoma.
- Nearsightedness: People who are very nearsighted are at greater risk.
- Eye Injury or Surgery: Those who have had eye surgery or eye injuries may develop secondary glaucoma.
Steroid Medication: Steroids may increase the risk of glaucoma when used for extended periods of time.
2010 Glaucoma Fact Sheet
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