Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting about 3 million people in the United States.1 But this potentially blinding eye disease does not affect all people equally. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, AMARA MEDICARE and the American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging people to be screened, especially if you are at increased risk of glaucoma.
Who is at risk?
- African Americans are 6 to 8 times more likely to get glaucoma than white Americans. Blindness from glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than white Americans.2
- People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to get glaucoma than people without diabetes.2
- Also at risk are people over age 40, those who are severely nearsighted, and those who have a family history of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits visual information to the brain, allowing us to see. Because glaucoma often progresses slowly, affecting just peripheral or side vision, people with glaucoma can lose most of their vision before they even experience any symptoms. Central vision, the vision used to read, drive or watch TV, is unaffected until the disease is advanced.
“Just because you think you can see well, doesn’t mean all is well,” said Dianna Seldomridge, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be regained. That’s why regular screening, especially among those at higher risk for glaucoma, is absolutely vital. When caught early, glaucoma can be treated with eyedrops or an in-office laser treatment. But in advanced cases, surgery may be required to slow the vision loss and prevent further damage.”
AMARA MEDICARE provides comprehensive management of Glaucoma at its offices in Ikoyi, Ajah and Sangotedo.
For more information about eye health and how to protect your eyes, visit the Academy’s EyeSmart website.
1 The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Cost of Vision Problems. Prevent Blindness. Retrieved December 3, 2019, from https://www.preventblindness.org/sites/default/files/national/documents/Future_of_Vision_final_0.pdf
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/features/glaucoma-awareness/index.html
3 Quigley HA, West SK, et al. The prevalence of glaucoma in a population-based study of Hispanic subjects. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119:1819-1826.