January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease.
Currently, 2.7 million people in the United States over age 40 have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.
Glaucoma is called "the sneak thief of sight" since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it's permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
Over 2.7 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma.
Help Raise Awareness
In the United States, approximately 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness. Here are three ways you can help raise awareness:
1.Talk to friends and family about glaucoma. If you have glaucoma, don’t keep it a secret. Let your family members know.
2.Encourage your family and friends to see an eye care provider to conduct a comprehensive eye exam annually.
For a free eye pressure check or for more information on eye health care, contact the Shelby Macomb Vision Associates.