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January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January 5, 2009

Glaucoma Awareness Ribbon

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that lead 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. Worldwide, an estimated 66.8 million people are visually impaired due to glaucoma, and an estimated 6.7 million are blind.

In the U.S., over 2 million people have the most common type of glaucoma, and of these, as many as 120,000 are blind. An estimated 3.3 million of Americans could have glaucoma by the year 2020. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. Open-angle glaucoma is three to four times more common in African Americans than in non-Hispanic Whites.

Vision experts believe that half of those affected by glaucoma may not know it, since there are usually no symptoms in its early stages. By the time an individual notices something is wrong, the disease has already caused considerable damage. Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be regained. Therefore, visiting your eye doctor for an eye exam at least every two years is extremely important. If you are at risk or over 60 years old, your physician may recommend more frequent eye exams. Although there is no cure, medications and surgery can help slow the disease's progression. Visit the following sections of our website for more information about symptoms, risk factors, and screening.


You can do your part during National Glaucoma Awareness Month by helping to spread the word about glaucoma. It's as easy as telling a friend.

Aside from funding research, National Glaucoma Research provides up to date, informative booklets and brochures about glaucoma. Ordering one of our publications and giving it to a friend or loved one will also help raise awareness about glaucoma. One of each publication is free. However, to offset the costs of creating these booklets, we charge a nominal fee for any additional copies that you might order. Some of our visitors order multiple booklets and give them to local organizations or groups in their communities. This is an excellent way to get the word out! If you would like to order more than one of each publication, please contact Mr. Jeff Honaker at jhonaker@brightfocus.org or call 1-800-437-2423.

Living With Glaucoma (order it now) is a 38-page booklet that describes the types of glaucoma, answers some commonly asked questions about the disease, discusses various diagnosis and treatment methods and provides an extensive resource list.

The Essential Facts on Glaucoma (order it now) is an 11-page brochure that discusses the primary forms of glaucoma, risk factors, warning signs, treatment options and coping strategies.

View all news updates for glaucoma

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional, and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Although we take efforts to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information on our website reflects the most up-to-date research. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice; all medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

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