January 2022 is Glaucoma Awareness Month. In our first article for January 2022, we briefly spoke about Glaucoma. In this article, we will provide more insights into this important topic, Glaucoma. We want to make sure that your eye health is a top priority for the year 2022.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve that is vital for good vision due to the abnormally high pressure that causes eye damage. This damage to the optic nerve is one of the leading causes of blindness for people age 60 and over. Usually, there are no warning signs for many forms of glaucoma. The effect is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the condition is at an advanced stage, and the CDC believes that there are three million Americans that have Glaucoma.
It is estimated that in 2020, about 80 million people have glaucoma worldwide, and the number will increase to over 111 million by 2040.
Critical Facts About Glaucoma:
- Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States that is irreversible.
- Blindness or low vision affects 3.3 million Americans age 40 and over.
- There are two types of Glaucoma, Open-Angle and Acute Angle Glaucoma.
- 40 and older—are affected by its most common form, Open-Angle Glaucoma.
- In 2020, about 80 million people had glaucoma worldwide, and this number will increase to over 111 million by 2040.
- Globally Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of Glaucoma accounting for three-quarters (74%) of all Glaucoma cases.
- The global incidence of Glaucoma is increasing due in part to the rapidly aging global population.
- African Americans will experience Open-Angle Glaucoma three to four times more than non-Hispanic Whites.
- African Americans are fifteen times more likely to experience blindness than Caucasians due to Glaucoma.
- Glaucoma occurrence rises rapidly in Hispanics over age 65.
- The impact of Glaucoma on the U.S. economy is approximately $2.86 billion every year in direct costs and productivity losses.
- Glaucoma accounts for more than 10 million visits to physicians each year, and the average direct cost of glaucoma treatment ranges from $623 per year for patients with early-stage glaucoma. The cost is $2,511 per year for patients with the end-stage disease (Source: Glaucomatoday).
Glaucoma Open-Angle Strong Risk Factors Are:
- High eye pressure
- Family history of glaucoma
- Age 40 and older for African Americans
- Age 60 and older for the general population, especially Mexican Americans
- Thin cornea
- Suspicious optic nerve appearance with increased cupping (size of the cup, the space at the center of the optic nerve, is larger than normal)
Glaucoma Open-Angle Potential Risk Factors Are:
- High myopia (very severe nearsightedness)
- Eye surgery or injury
- High blood pressure
- Use of corticosteroids. Examples like eye drops, pills, inhalers, and creams.
- Prescription eye drops could cut African Americans’ risk of getting glaucoma in half.
Today there is no cure for glaucoma. It is important that you contact us immediately if you experience Glaucoma symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment can control the disease before vision loss or blindness occurs.