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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2013 August;104(4):471-85

language: English

An internal medicine perspective review of risk factors for assessing and progression of primary open angle glaucoma

Actis A. G., Dall’Orto L., Penna R., Brogliatti B., Rolle T.

Ophthalmic Section, Eye Clinic, Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Torino, Turin, Italy


Aim of this review was to resume risk factors for the assess and progression of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), particularly considering systemic risk factors that can be associated with glaucomatous damage. If intraocular pressure is the main risk factor, we must consider carefully familiarity, age, gender and possible associations with diabetes, hypertension, vascular autoregulation disorders, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, hypo- and hyperadrenalism, sleep apnea syndrome, corticosteroids therapies and other suspected factors cited in literature. Glaucoma’s etiology remains unknown, its physiopathology is poorly understood and its diagnosis is often difficult. It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and it is the real “silent thief of sight” because the loss of vision often occurs gradually over a long period of time, and symptoms only occur when the disease is quite advanced. Cost-effectiveness analyses for POAG screening are weighted by the degree of uncertainty that glaucoma screening can be effective and reliable achieved. Addressing patients to an ophthalmologic investigation on the basis of the identified risk factors is a fundamental preventing measure.

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