Some types of glaucoma are hereditary. Although anyone can develop glaucoma, people with certain genetic factors may have a higher risk of the condition.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where fluid pressure rises within a person’s eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve at the back of the eye. People with glaucoma
There are many possible causes of glaucoma, and anyone can develop it. However, having a family history of glaucoma often increases a person’s risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about
In this article, we will discuss the genetic causes of glaucoma, as well as other risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Scientists believe that genetics are a key factor in developing all major forms of glaucoma. People with a family history of a specific type of glaucoma are at
Primary open-angle glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma. According to the National Eye Institute (NEI),
POAG is hereditary. If members of a person’s immediate family have glaucoma, they are at higher risk of developing it themselves. Researchers have identified
Primary angle-closure glaucoma
Primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG) refers to when the drainage angle in the eye is narrow, which reduces how easily fluid can escape the eye. People with PACG can have symptoms that come on suddenly or over time.
Scientists are still investigating the genetic causes of PACG. Some studies have identified several genes that may make people more likely to develop PACG.
Primary congenital glaucoma
Primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) is a rare condition. According to the National Eye Institute,
People born with PCG have eyes that do not drain fluid properly. Parents of children born with PCG typically notice the signs right away. These include:
- cloudy eyes
- sensitivity to light
- extra tears
- larger-than-normal eyes
People are more
- are related to each other by being second cousins or closer
- have first-degree relatives with PCG
- have certain genes
- have a family history of PCG, although this only accounts for 10% of PCG cases
Doctors can often use surgery to treat PCG. If an infant has surgery early enough, they do not usually have any permanent vision loss.
If a person develops glaucoma before age 40 years, they have early-onset glaucoma. Glaucoma that develops during a person’s childhood or early adulthood is known as juvenile early-onset glaucoma. A person’s risk of early-onset glaucoma mainly depends on genetics.
People pass down different types of early-onset glaucoma in different patterns. Some people who carry genes that can cause early-onset glaucoma will not develop it, but they may still pass it on to their children.
Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) causes extra material to build up inside a person’s eye. This
Some scientists believe that genetics affects a person’s risk of developing XFG. For example, evidence notes that variants of the
- higher coffee consumption
- lower dietary intake of folate
- extra ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from more time spent outside
Other factors that raise a person’s risk of glaucoma
- having diabetes
- being age 60 years or older
- having short-sightedness or long-sightedness
- having a certain ethnic background, as African American people are at
higher riskof POAG
Glaucoma does not initially cause any symptoms. Over time, people with glaucoma
Some forms of glaucoma, such as angle-closure glaucoma, can occasionally cause other, more sudden symptoms. These include:
- intense eye pain
- upset stomach, or nausea
- red eye
- blurry vision
- tenderness around a person’s eyes
- rings around lights in a person’s vision
If a person suddenly has any of these symptoms, they should seek urgent medical attention.
To reduce the pressure in a person’s eye and help
- eye drops
- surgery or laser eye treatment, to help fluid drain out of a person’s eye
Prescription eye drops are the most
Anyone can develop glaucoma. However, people with a family history of glaucoma are often more likely to develop glaucoma themselves.
If left untreated, glaucoma can cause people to lose vision or go blind. Eye tests can detect the early stages of glaucoma. This allows doctors to treat people for it, which can help prevent the condition from progressing.