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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Take Action: Prevention is the Key

Get an annual comprehensive eye exam.Protect the vision of family members and friends who may be at high risk for glaucoma:

  • African Americans over age 40;
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans;
  • People with a family history of the disease.

Encourage those at high risk for glaucoma to have a dilated pupil eye examination at least every one to two years.

Early detection and treatment can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.

Glaucoma Awareness

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that leads to damage of the optic nerve (the bundle of nerve fibers that carries information from the eye to the brain), which can then lead to vision loss and possibly blindness. Optic nerve damage usually occurs in the presence of high eye (intraocular) pressure; however, it can occur with normal or even less than normal eye pressure.

  • Globally, 60.5 million had glaucoma in 2010. Given the aging of the world's population, this number may increase to almost 80 million by 2020.
  • More than three million Americans are living with glaucoma and half are probably unaware that they have this eye disease.
  • 2.7 million of whom—aged 40 and older—are affected by its most common form, open-angle glaucoma.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further vision loss.

Glaucoma Resources

Glaucoma patientExplore our extensive resource library:

  • National Glaucoma Research publishes free informative booklets and brochures in large print that may be viewed online or ordered in print form. Booklets and brochures on eye diseases are in large print.
  • The glaucoma fact sheets contain valuable information on treatment, healthy living, essential questions to ask your doctor, frequently asked questions, clinical trials, protecting your vision from the sun, and a checklist to help maintain healthy vision.
  • Learn more about glaucoma by watching and sharing our extensive library of educational videos.
  • Listen to our library of educational audio files on glaucoma.
  • Read the BrightFocus Insights articles on glaucoma written by experts in the field.

Pushing the Limits of Scientific Knowledge

Glaucoma ResearcherSince the National Glaucoma Research (NGR) program began in 1978, BrightFocus has awarded more than $22.6 million to support research projects on the causes and potential prevention and treatment of this disease. NGR is currently supporting 31 biomedical research projects, after recently awarding 16 new grants in 2013.

Exciting New Research Projects

  • A new mechanism controlling the drainage of eye fluid
  • A new way to protect nerve cells in the eyes
  • Stimulation of the retina to re-grow axons that allow eye cells to make connections to the brain, allowing for the recovery of vision
  • An improved gene delivery method to lower eye pressure
  • Cell replacement therapy for glaucoma

Important Breakthroughs

Research results from BrightFocus-supported studies that could lead to breakthroughs in stopping glaucoma include:

  • The inhibition of the protein, Grp94, could lead to new treatments for some forms of hereditary glaucoma.
  • Targeted x-ray treatment provides protection from glaucoma in mice.
  • A new clue to the origins of glaucoma comes from a protein that blocks eye drainage.
  • Higher oxygen levels in  the eyes of African Americans may help explain glaucoma risk.
  • Two genetic mutations are linked to normal-pressure glaucoma.
  • Small episodes of stress to the eyes may actually protect against damage from glaucoma.
  • Zebrafish may hold the key to repairing serious eye conditions.

Last Review: 01/01/14

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