Who has more glaucoma risk?

Glaucoma is a condition that becomes much more common as we get older. And because very many of us are living longer, because we are healthier, there are lots more people now with glaucoma. Usually, it affects people over the age of 50. However, if you are a younger person, there are certain conditions that are associated with glaucoma and that would be inflammation in your eyes or something like uveitis or if you’ve ever had tennis ball or squash ball hit you in the eye that can be associated with glaucoma. But the vast majority of people tend to be 50 and over. It is more common in families where there’s a strong trait of glaucoma in parents or grandparents. It’s less important if it’s an aunt or uncle who he has glaucoma. It is really the first-degree relative that put you more risk.

Within glaucoma, there are certain types. The commonest type is what we call primary open-angle glaucoma. And that is where the drainage channels within the eye bulbs stop filtering the fluid as efficiently, so the fluid tends to build up within the eye. But there’s a second type that we call angle-closure glaucoma and that is where the drainage channels are actually narrowed. And because we all develop cataract as we get older, the lens in our eye normally becomes cloudy, but it also gets bigger, so you have a sphere expanding within another … and so the cataract takes much more space in the eye. And so we’re seeing many more people now with narrow-angle than angle-closure glaucoma because cataract comes to us all eventually. So, there are various different types and it is certainly more prevalent the older you become and anybody over the age 40 should be having eye pressure test at the optician at least every 1-2 years.

More about Laura Crawley

Ms Laura Crawley is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Clinica London, Imperial College Western Eye Hospital, and The London Clinic. Her special expertise is in treating glaucoma patients as well as patients with glaucoma and cataracts. She has a lot of experience in treating glaucoma and has published extensively in scientific journals and on medical education. She still does a lot of emergency operations at the emergency department at the Charing Cross and Western Eye Hospitals for the NHS. At Clinica London, she is responsible for glaucoma patients and glaucoma patients with cataracts. She also sees patients with general eye problems.