January has been declared National Glaucoma Awareness Month by many leading eye health organizations in efforts to spread awareness of the disease by sharing knowledge regarding the risk factors, causes, symptoms, and treatment options for the disease.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, but loss of sight from glaucoma can be prevented if treated early enough.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which carries the images we see to our brains. The optic nerve is made up of a large number of nerve fibers, which can be damaged, causing blind spots to develop. Unfortunately, most people do not notice these blind spots until much of the optic nerve damage has already occurred. Blindness occurs when the entire nerve is destroyed.
This is why spreading awareness of glaucoma is so important to the general public. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing permanent eye damage when it comes to glaucoma.
Our team at Illinois Eye Center would like to help in spreading awareness of glaucoma by sharing these top 10 glaucoma statistics that you may be unaware of:
- It is estimated that 60 million people worldwide have glaucoma.
- In the United States, over 3 million people are affected by glaucoma.
- There are often no early symptoms, which is why 50% of people with glaucoma don’t know that they have the disease.
- The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, affects 2.7 million Americans, aged 40 and older.
- In the U.S., more than 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.
- Anyone can get glaucoma, but certain groups are at higher risk. These groups include African Americans over age 40, all people over age 60, people with a family history of glaucoma, and people who have diabetes.
- Even if you are not in a high-risk group, getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam by the age of 40 can help catch glaucoma and other eye diseases early.
- Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. Glaucoma is fifteen times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians.
- Glaucoma costs the U.S. economy $2.86 billion every year in direct costs and productivity losses.
- Glaucoma accounts for over 10 million visits to physicians each year.
Regular eye examinations by your eye care provider are the best way to detect glaucoma. During a complete and painless eye exam for glaucoma, a qualified doctor will measure your intraocular pressure and evaluate any optic nerve damage.
Contact Illinois Eye Center at (309) 243-2400 to schedule your next eye exam or visit our website for more information.