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Is glaucoma hereditary?

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I went to my Ophthalmologist to have a check up, so my reading sight is a little bit bad. He put on reading glasses only, but because my mom got glaucoma when she was in her 70ñs, he checked the eye pressure, that was 17 and told me that there was a little cupping, not to much, a little over average. He said to be checked every year and not to worry, maybe I develope glaucoma or not, but now I´m worried if I should get a second opinion. He said the cupping wasn´t significant, just little discolored, but I have also heard that sometimes the disc is bigger in some people naturally, but because of my mom history, should I be checked more frequently? He said every year was fine, but at the same time told not to wait more. I´m really scared

Category: Ophthalmologist

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Category: Ophthalmologist
 23 Doctors Online


Thank you for asking your query at

Some Glaucomas are hereditary. So you may have two to three times higher chance of getting glaucoma at any stage of life than the normal population. But that does not mean that you will get it. There is an increased probability, that’s all.

From your description and the Ophthalmologist’s observations there is no need for worry as of now. A pressure of 17 is within normal range and a slight cupping can be a normal variant too. Just cupping alone is not sufficient to come to any solid conclusion But this is only true if your Ophthalmologist has done a comprehensive eye examination. I hope he has done it and there is no reason to think otherwise since you have got a risk factor.Regarding the screening you need to screen only once a year. In people with risk factors and over age of 40 an yearly screening is recommended by American Academy of Ophthalmology - AAO. (For those without any risk factors it’s recommended in every 3 to 5 years)
To conclude I would recommend you the following.
1. If you have any eye related symptom or headache, consult an Ophthalmologist without delay.
2. If this issue bothers you much, schedule an early screening for next time. Within 6 months or even 4 months. There after go for an yearly screening (or as per the recommendation of your Doctor)
. In any case yearly screening is a must.

Hope this helps
Please feel free to ask followup questions, if you have any.
Thank you

Patient replied :

Thanks so much for your answer. What is a comprenhensive screening? He checked the pressure and he check the bac of the nerve to see if there was cupping, that´s all. Should he do anythhing else?
Many thanks.

Thank you for asking your followup query.

Comprehensive eye exam include - tonometry (testing the pressure inside the eye balls), examination of the retina, visual field testing , assessing the thickness of cornea (Pachymerty ) and sometimes  Gonioscopy (measuring the angle).You can be sure only if you ask your ophthalmologist whether these has been done. 

Major Symptoms to be considered are- 
•    Decreased vision
•    Halos around lights
•    Headache
•    Severe eye pain
•    Nausea and vomiting
But I would suggest to you get in touch with your Doctor in any kind of eye symptoms or headache. Also note that many a times Glaucoma can be totally asymptomatic. And thats the purpose of yearly screening. 

Hope this helps
Thank you.

Dr. Manish Malhotra
Category: Ophthalmologist
Fellowship: L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad
Fellow Pediatric Ophthalmology & Squint (L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad)
Medical School, Residency: MBBS, DOMS, FLVPEI, Nagpur university, 1995
Dr. Manish Malhotra and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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