Cases of Glaucoma, the “Sneak Thief of Sight,” Projected to Increase Significantly in Near Future


Sunbury News Staff Report



—Prevent Blindness Provides Free Information to the Public for January’s National Glaucoma Awareness Month—

Columbus, OH (Dec. 20, 2017) – As the population of the United States ages, the number of age-related eye disease cases is projected to grow. Glaucoma, one of the most common eye diseases, currently affects nearly 3 million people ages 40 and older, according to the Prevent Blindness report, “Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems.” Additionally, the numbers are estimated to increase by nearly 50 percent to 4.3 million by 2032 and by more than 90 percent to 5.5 million by 2050.

January has been declared as National Glaucoma Awareness Month by Prevent Blindness and other leading eye health organizations, in an effort to help educate the public on the disease, including risk factors and treatment options. Prevent Blindness offers a dedicated web page providing patients and their caregivers with additional free information at https://www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma

Glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight” as vision changes tend to occur gradually, without pain. Glaucoma may develop in one or both eyes. People may experience glaucoma differently. Usually, glaucoma affects side vision (peripheral vision) first. Late in the disease, glaucoma may cause “tunnel vision.” In this condition, the person can only see straight ahead. That’s why someone with glaucoma can have good central vision. However, even central vision can be seriously damaged.

These risk factors may increase your chance of having glaucoma:

Age: The older you are, the greater you are at risk (especially if you are over 60 years old). African Americans are at a greater risk at a younger age starting at age 40 and older.

Race: African-Americans age 40 and over are 4-5 times more likely to have glaucoma than others. Hispanics are also at increased risk for glaucoma as they age. Those of Asian and Native American descent are at increased risk for angle closure glaucoma.

Family History: If you have a parent, brother or sister with glaucoma, you are more likely to get glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, inform your family members to get complete eye exams.

Medical History: You are at risk if you have a history of high pressure in your eyes, previous eye injury, long term steroid use, or nearsightedness.

“With nearly 106,000 Ohioans with glaucoma today, it is critical that people know their risk for vision loss without early detection and treatment,” said Sherry Williams, President & CEO of Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate. “We urge everyone, especially those ages 40 and older, to make an appointment for a dilated eye exam from an eyecare professional today. Please don’t put off your chance for healthy vision until tomorrow!”

The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program provides eye care at no out-of-pocket cost to medically underserved seniors age 65 and older, and glaucoma exams to those at increased risk. For more information, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.

For more information on glaucoma or financial assistance programs, including Medicare, please call Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate at (800) 301-2020 or visit www.pbohio.org.

About Prevent Blindness

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. The Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness is Ohio’s leading volunteer nonprofit public health organization dedicated to preventing blindness and preserving sight. We serve all 88 Ohio counties, providing direct services to more than 800,000 Ohioans annually and educating millions of consumers about what they can do to protect and preserve their precious gift of sight. For more information or to make a contribution, call 800-301-2020. Or, visit us on the web at www.pbohio.org or facebook.com/pbohio.

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Sunbury News Staff Report

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