One of the most common questions we hear from patients is, “Could I have glaucoma and not realize it?” And in short, the answer is yes.
In fact, many people refer to glaucoma as the “thief of sight” because it can come on so slowly that many people don’t realize they have it. In fact, some people live with glaucoma for years before noticing anything is wrong.
And while you can manage your glaucoma going forward, there is no way to get back the vision you already lost. This is why it is so important to have yearly dilated eye exams, especially if you are at higher risk for glaucoma.
Common Risk Factors for Glaucoma
At the end of the day, everyone is at risk for glaucoma to a certain extent. But there are certain factors that will put you at higher risk than other people.
Age does play a role with people over the age of 60 being at higher risk for developing glaucoma. And research has shown that African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians have a higher likelihood of not only develop glaucoma but developing it earlier in life.
Family history is another risk factor for glaucoma. In fact, open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma, is more common in individuals with a family history. And individuals with certain medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension may be risk factors for glaucoma.
Minimizing Your Risk for Glaucoma
There is no surefire way to prevent glaucoma but there are things you can do to minimize your risk. For starters, you put yourself at less risk for developing vision problems simply by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.
It’s also important to protect your eyes when spending time outdoors because prolonged sun exposure can increase your risk for glaucoma. And if you regularly engage in sports or other physical activities, be sure to protect your eyes from injury.
And of course, the best way to protect yourself is by having yearly dilated eye exams. If you are concerned that you may be at risk for glaucoma, don’t wait! Schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.