Glaucoma Runs in My Family — What Should I Do?

 Glaucoma Runs in My Family — What Should I Do?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage your optic nerve and contribute to vision loss. Glaucoma often happens when you have excess fluid or high pressure in your eye. It’s also the second-leading cause of blindness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Discovering that glaucoma runs in your family can be a cause for concern, but it also presents an opportunity for you to prioritize proactive eye care. 

With over 20 years of experience diagnosing and treating glaucoma here in the Norwood neighborhood of Bronx, New York City, Nicanor Lacsina, O.D., Yelena Pinkhasova, O.D., and the team at Bainbridge Eye Care can help you navigate your next steps if you know glaucoma runs in your family.

Here’s what you need to do.

Assess your personal risk factors

While a family history of glaucoma increases your risk, other factors such as age, ethnicity, and medical conditions can also contribute. Be aware of these risk factors and discuss them with Dr. Lacsina or Dr. Pinkhasova during your appointments.

Common risk factors for glaucoma include:

Remember: just because you have some of these risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean that you develop glaucoma, but knowing this information can help shape how often you need to schedule your eye exams.

Schedule regular eye exams

Schedule regular eye exams here at Bainbridge Eye Care. Regular eye exams are vital for everyone, but if you know glaucoma runs in your family and you have other risk factors, stay diligent with your routine exams. When sharing your family and personal medical history, try to provide the ages of your family members at diagnosis, if possible. 

Our team can conduct comprehensive eye examinations, including measuring your intraocular pressure, examining your optic nerves, and conducting visual field tests. Regular check-ups allow for the early detection of glaucoma and other eye conditions. Catching glaucoma during its early stages can help preserve your vision.

Adopt eye-friendly habits

Specific lifestyle choices can impact your eye health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants. Some of the best foods to promote eye health include raw red bell peppers, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, beans, salmon, and dark, leafy greens.

If you smoke, consider smoking cessation for the sake of your eyes. Smoking is a risk factor for glaucoma as well as cataracts, macular degeneration, and dry eye syndrome. Talk to Dr. Lacsina or Dr. Pinkhasova if you need help quitting, or you can also utilize the New York Smokers QuitLine resources.

Manage any underlying conditions

While you can’t do anything about your non-modifiable risk factors, you can manage the risk factors within your control. If you have any underlying conditions that increase your glaucoma risk, work with your primary care provider to manage those conditions. Diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the biggest risk factors. You can manage these conditions with exercise, dietary changes, and medication.  

Follow your treatment plans carefully

If our team detects signs of glaucoma during your exam, they may recommend glaucoma treatments, such as medicated eye drops. Eye drops can manage the condition well by lowering the pressure in your eyes. Stay consistent with your medication schedule if prescribed. 

In some cases, you may benefit from laser eye surgery instead. If that's your recommended treatment plan, schedule your surgery as soon as possible. 

Raise awareness about glaucoma with other family members

Share your knowledge about the family history of glaucoma with other family members. Encourage them to schedule regular eye exams, especially if they’re at an age where the risk increases. Early detection and treatment can make a significant difference in managing glaucoma.

Are you concerned about glaucoma? Schedule your exam today and get the answers you need. You can reach us at 718-306-9127 or through our online scheduling tool

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