University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

News Article

Glaucoma Awareness in January

Glaucoma is a disease that is often associated with elevated intraocular pressure, in which damage to the eye (optic) nerve can lead to loss of vision and even blindness.

Once symptoms appear, it may be too late to prevent vision loss and the progression to blindness.

If glaucoma is detected early, treatments such as eye drops or surgery can slow or stop vision loss.

With its painless and gradual loss of vision, glaucoma may have no early warning signs, but it can be detected during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Do You Have Glaucoma?

You owe it to yourself to find out by getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Glaucoma, if diagnosed and treated early, can be controlled.

Some Facts About the Incidence and Prevalence of Glaucoma

  • Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 120,000 are blind from glaucoma in the United States, accounting for 9 percent to 12 percent of all cases of blindness.
  • Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
  • In Hispanics in older age groups, the risk of glaucoma is nearly as high as that for African-Americans.
  • Over 2.2 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don't know they have it.
  • Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can be controlled.

Risk Factors for Developing Glaucoma

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of the disease
  • Siblings of persons diagnosed with glaucoma have a significantly increased risk of having glaucoma.

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