Causes of Glaucoma
Researchers have not yet discovered a specific glaucoma cause. However, there are numerous risk factors that contribute to glaucoma, such as having diabetes or a family history of glaucoma.
Anyone can get glaucoma, but no one knows the exact cause or causes of the condition. Doctors can seldom explain why one person gets glaucoma and another does not. However, research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop glaucoma. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease.
Although the causes of glaucoma have not been found, studies have found a number of factors that may increase the risk of glaucoma. These glaucoma risk factors may act together to increase the risk even more. The risk of glaucoma is higher in the following people:
- African Americans over age 40
- Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- People with diabetes.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam can reveal more glaucoma risk factors, such as:
- High eye pressure
- Thinness of the cornea
- Abnormal optic nerve anatomy.
Most people who are aware of glaucoma risk factors do not typically get glaucoma. On the other hand, many who are diagnosed with glaucoma do not even have these risk factors. Glaucoma research scientists do not know the causes of glaucoma, but they continue to search.
People who think they may be at risk of glaucoma should discuss this concern with their doctor. The doctor may suggest ways to reduce the risk and can plan an appropriate schedule for checkups.