High eye pressure does not cause glaucoma, but it is a risk factor. Learn about other risk factors for glaucoma and ways to lower your risk to possibly prevent the disease.

family with 3 generations

Risk Factors for Open-Angle Glaucoma

Strong risk factors for open-angle glaucoma:

  • High eye pressure
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Age 40 and older for African Americans
  • Age 60 and older for the general population, especially Mexican Americans
  • Thin cornea
  • Suspicious optic nerve appearance with increased cupping (size of cup, the space at the center of optic nerve, is larger than normal
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Potential risk factors for open-angle glaucoma:

  • High myopia (very severe nearsightedness)
  • Diabetes
  • Eye surgery or injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of corticosteroids (for example, eye drops, pills, inhalers, and creams)

Prevention: Lower Your Risk of Glaucoma

If you’re at risk of developing glaucoma, medical experts recommend a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet to improve your overall physical and mental well-being. Taking care of your mental and emotional health is also important.

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Are you eating the foods that are best for protecting your eyes?

Suggestions for general physical well-being:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Keep your blood pressure at a normal level and control other medical conditions.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit caffeine intake to moderate levels, because some evidence suggests that high amounts of caffeine may increase eye pressure.
  • Try to exercise daily by doing physical activities such as walking, swimming, or working in the yard.
  • Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses and hats when you’re outdoors.
  • Get regular, comprehensive eye exams, and consult your doctor if you notice changes in your vision.
  • If you are African American, taking prescription eye drops could cut your risk of getting glaucoma in half.

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