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Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Regular eye examinations with an ophthalmologist are important to screen for primary open-angle glaucoma. In particular, regular eye examinations are critical for people who are at high risk for glaucoma, such as African Americans and elderly individuals.

  • For people without any symptoms and who are aged 40 years and younger, screenings should be performed at least every 3-5 years.
  • Screenings should be conducted more often if the person is African American or older than 40 years.
  • For people with multiple risk factors for glaucoma, evaluation/monitoring should be performed on an even more frequent basis.

Your initial visit to the ophthalmologist is extremely important in the evaluation for primary open-angle glaucoma or other ocular diseases that could be causing elevated intraocular pressure (called secondary glaucoma).

During this visit, the ophthalmologist may ask you about the following:

  • Past ocular history
    • Eye pain or redness
    • Multicolored halos
    • Headache
    • Previous eye disease, eye surgery, or eye/head trauma
  • Past surgeries or illnesses
  • Current medications (Some medications may indirectly cause changes in intraocular pressure.)
  • Strong risk factors for optic nerve damage due to glaucoma
    • History of elevated intraocular pressure
    • Advanced age, particularly people who are older than 40 years
    • African American descent
    • Family history of glaucoma
    • Nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Possible risk factors for optic nerve damage due to glaucoma
  • Other possible risk factors
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/14/2014
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