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Glaucoma: Symptoms and Risk Factors

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that are associated with abnormally elevated pressure within the eye. The increased pressure damages the nerves of the eye and may result in irreversible blindness. It is the second-leading cause of blindness worldwide, after cataracts.


Initially, there are no symptoms. As the pressure within the eye increases, patients may experience nausea or red, painful eyes. If pressure further increases without treatment, blindness can occur.

Risk Factors

  • Increasing age: Glaucoma is rare in individuals under age 65, but affects more than 3 percent of individuals older than 75.
  • Race: African-Americans are affected with glaucoma four to five times more often than whites. Further, African-Americans are more likely to become blind as a result of the disease.
  • Family history: Children of affected individuals have more than double the risk. Siblings of affected individuals have nearly four times the risk.
  • Other risk factors include use of corticosteroids, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypothyroidism, and myopia (near-sightedness).


Glaucoma: Diagnosis and Treatment >>