Glaucoma, ‘The Sneak Thief of Sight,’ Continues to Affect Vision of Millions of Americans

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CHICAGO—According to estimates from the Prevent Blindness report, “Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” more than 3.2 million Americans ages 40 and over have glaucoma in the year 2020. The number is expected to increase as the population ages. Glaucoma, often referred to as the "The Sneak Thief of Sight," is a leading cause of vision loss that damages the optic nerve. Although symptoms may not be noticeable at first, glaucoma slowly diminishes peripheral vision (side vision), making activities such as driving increasingly, according to a Prevent Blindness announcement this week.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and Prevent Blindness, the nation's oldest volunteer eye health and safety nonprofit organization, seeks to educate the public on the disease, including risk factors, types of glaucoma, treatment options and more, according to the announcement. Prevent Blindness offers a dedicated web page providing patients and their caregivers with free information at https://www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma or its online resource, Living Well with Low Vision at https://lowvision.preventblindness.org.

More women than men have glaucoma. Risk factors for glaucoma also include: age (the older you are, the greater you are at risk; race (African-Americans age 40 and over are four to five times more likely to have glaucoma than others); family history and medical history (higher risk is associated with a history of high pressure in the eyes, previous eye injury, long term steroid use, or are farsighted or nearsighted).

“The year 2020 is an ideal reminder for all of us to make the resolution today to save our vision for tomorrow," Prevent Blindness president and chief executive officer Jeff Todd said in the announcement. “By detecting vision problems and treating them early, including those from glaucoma, we can help to avoid significant vision impairment."

Allergan is supporting the efforts of Prevent Blindness in its public outreach efforts to protect vision from glaucoma. Recently, Allergan launched the My Glaucoma campaign, which is designed to help people understand the burden of living with glaucoma and empower those with the disease and their caregivers to feel comfortable speaking with their doctor about a treatment regimen that fits their lifestyle.

For more information, visit MyGlaucoma.com.

For more information on glaucoma, or other financial assistance programs, including Medicare coverage, please call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org/glaucoma.