This week, we released a new report on Glaucoma for 23andMe+ Members.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which relays information from the eye to the brain. This damage, usually caused by an imbalance of fluid and pressure in the eye, can result in gradual vision loss that may start as blind spots or loss of side (peripheral) vision and worsen over time.
Over three million Americans have glaucoma, and it is the second-leading cause of blindness after macular degeneration. The condition is more prevalent among certain groups, including individuals over 60, Black Americans over 40, and individuals with certain health conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also run in families.
There are several types of glaucoma. The most common, open-angle glaucoma, happens when a buildup of protein in the eye prevents fluid from draining, causing pressure in the eye to rise slowly. A second type, called angle-closure glaucoma, occurs when the iris bulges forward, blocking the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris. Onset can be gradual or sudden.
Symptoms vary depending on the type and stage of the condition. Signs of gradual onset glaucoma include loss of side (peripheral) vision and blind spots. Signs of sudden onset include headaches, severe eye pain, vision loss, nausea, and vomiting.
A New Report
The new report, which is powered by data from consented 23andMe research participants, uses machine learning techniques to estimate an individual’s likelihood of developing both open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma.
This estimate is made using a statistical model that includes more than 8,000 genetic markers and information on an individual’s ethnicity and birth sex.
While early management and medical treatment can slow the progression of glaucoma, there is no cure.
Several lifestyle interventions have been shown to help manage eye pressure and slow vision loss. Getting regular, moderate exercise can help, as can avoiding inverted yoga positions and other activities that may increase eye pressure. Wearing eye protection to prevent injuries and limiting caffeine consumption is also recommended.
23andMe’s new Glaucoma Report (Powered by 23andMe Research) is available to all annual members of the 23andMe+ Membership. To view your report, go here.
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