Causes and Risk Factors
Nearly 2.7 million people have glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the United States. Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people are at higher risk. They include
- African-Americans over age 40
- everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
- people with a family history of glaucoma.
In addition to age, eye pressure is a risk factor. Whether you develop glaucoma depends on the level of pressure your optic nerve can tolerate without being damaged. This level is different for each person. That’s why a comprehensive dilated eye exam is very important. It can help your eye care professional determine what level of eye pressure is normal for you.
Another risk factor for optic nerve damage relates to blood pressure. Thus, it is important to also make sure that your blood pressure is at a proper level for your body by working with your medical doctor.
(Watch the animated video to learn more about the causes of glaucoma. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)