From New York, USA:
Do all diabetics get glaucoma, or is it if you have a family history?
No, all diabetics do not get glaucoma. Unfortunately, a diabetic appears to have a slightly higher risk of developing glaucoma than someone who is not diabetic. I emphasise the "slightly higher risk" - whilst it was thought that diabetes carried a serious risk of glaucoma, all of the more recent studies have only demonstrated a very sight increase in the risk. Similarly, whilst you would carry a higher risk of developing glaucoma, if you have family members who have the disease, that risk too is only a slight one. Obviously, if you diabetic, and have a family history of glaucoma, then you would have a still higher risk of glaucoma, but again, the overall risk remains surprisingly low.
As a diabetic, you should be having regular eye examinations. In many cases, this would also involve tests for glaucoma. The three main glaucoma tests are measuring the eye pressure (intraocular pressure), testing the area of sight (visual fields test) and looking for signs of damage to the optic nerve (optic disc assessment). When you are examined for diabetic retinopathy, your optic nerve/optic disc is also looked at and therefore any glaucoma-like appearances to the optic disc should be automatically checked by your healthcare professional. The other two tests are done routinely by Ophthalmologists and Optometrists, but would not, for example, be carried out by your diabetologist or internist.
Everyone over the age of 50, diabetic or not, should have an annual assessment for glaucoma.
Original posting 21 Jan 2004
Posted to Complications
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