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A family history of glaucoma is a very important risk factor. Glaucoma has a strong hereditary component, with approximately 40% of all individuals with glaucoma reporting a positive family history.

Having a first degree relative with primary open angle glaucoma increases your risk by 2-3 times the normal. If you have a sibling with primary open angle glaucoma then the risk is even higher.

Research around the world is now clearly establishing the relationship between mutations in certain genes, and the glaucomas. Genetic studies are beginning to identify particular sub groups of individuals with glaucoma. Identification of glaucoma disease genes will contribute to greater understanding of disease development, and therefore prevention. It is potentially possible in the decades ahead that there will be a genetic profile that identifies your intrinsic risk of developing glaucoma.

If you have glaucoma then your siblings should most certainly have an eye examination and your first degree relatives should also be encouraged to, particularly if they are over 40 years of age.

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