Prevent Blindness Projects Significant Increase in Glaucoma

Even though cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, glaucoma is quickly gaining ground. This family of eye diseases that damages the optic nerve can develop without warning. Open angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, is often referred to as “the sneak thief of sight” because it develops slowly over time and has no symptoms until severe damage has been done. Two common symptoms of open angle glaucoma are peripheral vision loss and tunnel vision, but these symptoms only appear in advanced stages.

According to Prevent Blindness, there are almost 3 million people age 40 years and older who have glaucoma, and this statistic is progressively growing. It is predicted that glaucoma incidence will increase nearly 50 percent to 4.3 million by the year 2032 and by over 90 percent to 5.5 million by 2050.

A disease that is expected to increase by 90 percent in a matter of 36 years certainly merits our attention. Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, so it is only to our advantage to know our individual risk. Age, race, family history, medical history, and link to diabetes play a significant role in whether you develop glaucoma. One of the most significant factors is race. Currently, over 60 percent of current glaucoma sufferers are Caucasian, but by 2050, glaucoma patients will primarily be non-white. Blacks and Hispanics will each comprise 20 percent of glaucoma patients.

The best way to prevent vision loss associated with glaucoma is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams. An eye exam does not just test whether you can read all the letters on the eye chart; it is a complete assessment of your vision, and it can even offer a window into your overall health. For the price of a copay, you can get a report on your eyes and your body wellness!

Your eyes require regular maintenance and check-ups, so make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. Here’s an even better idea: show your dedication to your whole family by scheduling exams for your loved ones. It only takes a moment to make the phone call, but the reward will be a lifetime of clear vision (Source: Healio).

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