January Named Glaucoma Awareness Month

CHICAGO—With the start of the New Year, eyecare groups including Prevent Blindness America (PBA), the Glaucoma Research Foundation and American Optometric Association (AOA) are working to build awareness during January’s National Glaucoma Awareness Month.

PBA is reminding adults to schedule an eye exam in the New Year. More specifically, the organization said that the damaging effects of glaucoma may be detected through an eye exam before a patient notices any symptoms: “Patients in the early stages of glaucoma usually have no symptoms, no noticeable vision loss and no pain, which is why it is called the ‘sneak thief of sight.’ By the time symptoms start to appear, some permanent damage to the eye has usually occurred.”

“Our key message is that, unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma. But the good news is that if detected and treated early, the effects of vision loss can be diminished,” said Hugh R. Parry, PBA’s president and CEO. “We hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2011 and that it includes a visit to the eye doctor.”

According to the study “Vision Problems in the U.S.” by PBA and the National Eye Institute (NEI), there are nearly 2.3 million Americans ages 40 and older who have glaucoma with the disease being listed as the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of blindness in African American and Hispanic populations in the U.S. “Many may not be aware that an eye exam cannot only help to protect vision, it can uncover evidence of other diseases including diabetes or hypertension,” the organization said.

For more information visit preventblindness.org/glaucoma or call (800) 331-2020.

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