High intraocular pressures and age are strong risk factors for developing glaucoma. The risk increases considerably at age 40 for African-Americans and at age 60 for the general population.
Other important risk factors aside from high eye pressure and age include: family history of glaucoma; African or Hispanic ancestry; and nearsightedness. Additional risk factors for glaucoma include low central cornea thickness, diabetes, hypertension, eye trauma, and use of steroids.
Another risk factor for the development of chronic open-angle glaucoma is the size of the central “cupping” of the optic nerve head. The cupping of the optic nerve means the size of the depression in the middle of the nerve. When there is damage to the optic nerve, the cupping increases. Other factors to consider are the size of the optic disc and the degree of nearsightedness.