Understanding the Causes and Risk Factors of Glaucoma

The American Optometric Association states that glaucoma is the second major cause of vision loss in the United States. This group of eye disorders leads to advancing optic nerve damage. Losing your nerve tissue results in blindness. If you want to detect the early signs of this eye disorder, you must make regular visits to your eye doctor. Understanding the causes and risk factors of glaucoma can motivate you to continue your routine eye checkups. Here are the details.


The Causes 


Glaucoma often happens in people over 40 years of age. It may develop if the pressure in your eye is too high for a specific optic nerve. Research reveals that specific types of this eye condition have different causes. Here are the different types of glaucoma and their possible causes:


  • Low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma is a type of glaucoma in which there is optic nerve damage despite normal eye pressure levels. Researchers do not know why this occurs. But they believe that you can have this type of glaucoma if you have an over-sensitive optic nerve. You may have an optic nerve that receives a low blood supply. This may be a result of health conditions, such as atherosclerosis. 

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. If you have this condition, you have painless and slow damage to the optic nerve. You can lose most of your vision before you notice any issues with your vision with this type of glaucoma. Researchers speculate that this type of glaucoma may result from an inefficient eye drainage system. This increases the amount of fluid and pressure in your eye. Other scientists think inadequate blood flow to the optic nerve can cause this glaucoma. 

  • Secondary glaucoma is the result of an eye injury or surgery. Medications and eye disorders may also cause this type of glaucoma. 

  • Angle-closure glaucoma is a less common variation of this eye problem. It is an eye emergency that causes vision loss on the day it starts. Research shows that this type of glaucoma happens when there is a blockage in your eye’s drainage angle. It can also happen if your drainage angle closes. It is common for patients with a narrow or constricted drainage angle to develop this eye disorder. 


Over time, your lenses enlarge if you have angle-closure glaucoma. This condition narrows the space between your cornea and your iris. It also pushes your iris out. As the drainage angle narrows, your eye fluid cannot flow out. Because of this, your eye pressure increases. 


People with a narrow drainage angle often have dilated pupils. The angle may then close, increasing eye pressure. Research shows that only one eye may suffer from this acute disorder, but the other eye may be at risk of this sudden attack as well.


The Risk Factors


In a normal, healthy eye, the fluid drains out. Glaucoma keeps fluid in the eyes because of inefficient drainage. High fluid buildup in the eyes results in high intraocular pressure. Here are some glaucoma risk factors to consider:


  • Long-term corticosteroid use - This increases your risk of secondary glaucoma. 

  • People of Hispanic, African-American, or Asian descent - They have a higher risk of developing glaucoma than Caucasians. 

  • People over 40 years old

  • Having myopia or hyperopia

  • Other health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes

  • Eye surgery or injury

  • A family history of glaucoma

  • Thin corneas


Knowing the causes and risk factors of glaucoma can help you work with your eye doctor in preventing or treating this eye condition. At Creekside Family Eyecare, we always deliver high-quality vision care products and services. You can visit our facility in The Woodlands, Texas, for in-person consultations. Please call 832-559-3861 to set an appointment or ask about our glaucoma treatment packages.

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