Who is at risk of glaucoma?
Anyone can develop glaucoma but there are several risk factors which make glaucoma more likely. More information on risk factors can be found in our free booklet, Glaucoma a Guide.
Age – Primary open angle glaucoma becomes more common with age. It’s fairly rare below age 40, but rises from about two in 100 over the age of 40 to more than one in 20 for those aged 80+.
Blood pressure – Very high blood pressure can lead to an increase in intraocular pressure. Low blood pressure can lead to insufficient blood supply to the optic nerve which can also cause problems.
Ethnicity – People of African-Caribbean origin have about a four-times higher risk of primary open angle glaucoma compared to those of European origin. People of east Asian origin are at higher risk of developing primary angle closure glaucoma.
Family history – There is at least a four-times higher risk of developing glaucoma if you have a close blood relative who has it. So if you have glaucoma, you should tell your relatives about the condition as they may need to be tested. More information can be found in our booklet Glaucoma and your relatives.
Short sight – People with short sight (myopia) are at increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Long sight – People with long sight are at increased risk of developing primary angle closure glaucoma.
Diabetes – People with diabetes may be at higher risk of developing glaucoma.
Download our glaucoma and your relatives leaflet
Although most relatives of people diagnosed with glaucoma will not have the disease, if you have a close blood relative (brother, sister, parent, child) with glaucoma you are at an increased risk of developing it. This leaflet is for your relatives so that, if they have the disease, it can be identified as early as possible when treatment is most effective.