Sources for Glaucoma: Facts & Figures

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States and the world.

More than three million Americans are living with glaucoma, 2.7 million of whom-aged 40 and older-are affected by its most common form, open-angle glaucoma.

  • The 2012 Fifth Edition of Vision Problems in the U.S (http://www.visionproblemsus.org/introduction/acknowledgments.html).: Funding for the 2012 Fifth Edition of Vision Problems in the U.S., was provided by the National Eye Institute and the BrightFocus Foundation. Research described in this report was conducted by dozens of scientists from all over the world. We gratefully acknowledge the invaluable contribution of data from their work. Prevalence estimates for Vision Problems in the U.S. were created under a grant to Johns Hopkins University. We offer our appreciation to the investigators: Principal Investigator: David S. Friedman, MD, MPH, Professor of Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Director, Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University; Prevalence Estimates Based on 2010 U.S. Census Data: Benita J. O'Colmain, MPH, PhD, Fellow/Technical Director, ICF International; Database Development: Ilona Mestril, MPH
  • Citations and Abstracts from April 2004 Archives of Ophthalmology: Several papers describing the meta-analysis used to obtain the prevalence data contained in the Vision Problems in the U.S. report published in 2002 have published in a themed issue of the April 2004 Archives of Ophthalmology. This NEI-supported research provides an in-depth description of the data analysis and includes projections for the year 2020 regarding the prevalence of four diseases (age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma) and disorders among Whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics.
  • “Blindness and Visual Impairment-A Public Health Issue for the Future as Well as Today (editorial),” Archives of Ophthalmology 2004; 122:451-452
  • “Prevalence of Open-Angle Glaucoma Among Adults in the United States,” Archives of Ophthalmology 2004; 122:532-53

In 2020, about 80 million people have glaucoma worldwide, and this number is expected to increase to over 111 million by 2040.

  • "Global Prevalence of Glaucoma and Projections of Glaucoma Burden through 2040", Ophthalmology 2014; 121:2081-2090

Glaucoma costs the U.S. economy $2.86 billion every year in direct costs and productivity losses.

  • “The Economic Burden of Major Adult Visual Disorders in the United States,” David B. Rein, PhD; Ping Zhang, PhD; Kathleen E. Wirth, BA; Paul P. Lee, MD, JD; Thomas J. Hoerger, PhD; Nancy McCall, ScD; Ronald Klein, MD, MPH; James M. Tielsch, PhD; Sandeep Vijan, MD, MS; Jinan Saaddine, MD, MPH, Arch Ophthalmol. 2006;124:1754-1760

​Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S.

  • Citations and Abstracts from April 2004 Archives of Ophthalmology: Several papers describing the meta-analysis used to obtain the prevalence data contained in the Vision Problems in the U.S. report published in 2002 have published in a themed issue of the April 2004 Archives of Ophthalmology. This NEI-supported research provides an in-depth description of the data analysis and includes projections for the year 2020 regarding the prevalence of four diseases (age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma) and disorders among Whites, African-Americans, and Hispanics.
  • “Blindness and Visual Impairment-A Public Health Issue for the Future as Well as Today (editorial),” Archives of Ophthalmology 2004; 122:451-452
  • “Prevalence of Open-Angle Glaucoma Among Adults in the United States,” Archives of Ophthalmology 2004; 122:532-538

​Open-angle glaucoma is three to four times more common in African Americans than in non-Hispanic Whites.

  • From “Glaucoma: Our Role in Reducing the Burden of Blindness,” Lenworth N. Johnson, MD, NMA Chairman, JOURNAL OF THE NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION VOL. 94, NO. 10, OCTOBER 2002; Original sources:
  • Tielsh JM, Sommer A, Katz J, et al. Racial variations in the prevalence of primary open-angle glaucoma. The Baltimore Eye Survey. JAMA. 1991;266:369-74.
  • Marshall EC. Racial differences in the presentation of chronic open-angle glaucoma. JAm Optom As>fuc. 1989;60:760-7.
  • Sommer A, TielshJM, KatzJ, et al. Relationship between intraocular pressure and primary open angle glaucoma among white and black Americans. The Baltimore Eye Survey. Arch Ophthalmol. 1991;109:1090-5.
  • Leske MC, Connell AMD, Schachat AP, Hyman L. The Barbados Eye Study. Prevalence of open angle glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1994;1 12:821-9.
  • Mason RP, Kosoko 0, Wilson MR, et al. National survey of the prevalence and risk factors of glaucoma in St. Lucia, West Indies. Part I. Prevalence findings. Ophthalmology. 1989;96:1363-8.
  • Weih LM, Nanjan M, McCarty CA, Taylor HR. Prevalence and predictors of open-angle glaucoma. Results from the Visual Impairment Project. Ophthalmolog. 2001;108:1966-72.
  • Klein BEK, Klein R, Sponsel WE, et al. Prevalence of glaucoma. The Beaver Dam Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 1992;99: 1499-1504.
  • Mitchell P, Smith W, Attebo K, Healey PR. Prevalenice of open-angle glaucoma in Australia. The Blue Mountain Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 1996;103:1661-9.
  • Dielmans I, VingerlingJR, Wolfs RCW, et al. The prevalence of primary open-angle glaucoma in a population-based study in the Netherlands. The Rotterdam Study. Ophthalmolog. 1994;101:1851-5.

Glaucoma is fifteen times more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians.

The prevalence of glaucoma rises rapidly in Hispanics over age 65.

In the United States, the major type of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma, strikes African Americans and Hispanics at higher rates than other ethnic groups.

Some studies have shown that perhaps half of people living with glaucoma aren't even aware they have the disease.

  • Quigley, H. A., Broman, A. T., “The number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020,” British Journal of Ophthalmology (2006); 90:262–267. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2005.081224
  • Friedman, David S., Roger C.W. Wolfs, Benita J. O'Colmain, Barbara E. Klein, Hugh R. Taylor, Sheila West, M. Cristina Leske, Paul Mitchell, Nathan G. Congdon, and John Kempen. "Prevalence of Open-Angle Glaucoma Among Adults in the United States". Archives of Ophthalmology. 2004 Vol. 122, No. 4, pp. 532-8
  • Tielsch JM, Sommer A, Katz J, Royall RM, Quigley HA, Javitt J. Racial variations in the prevalence of primary open-angle glaucoma: the Baltimore Eye Survey. JAMA. 1991;266:369–374
  • Wensor MD, McCarty CA, Stanislavsky YL, Livingston PM, Taylor HR. The prevalence of glaucoma in the Melbourne Visual Impairment Project. Ophthalmology. 1998;105:733–739

Prescription eye drops could cut African Americans' risk of getting glaucoma in half.

Approximately 5.6 million prescriptions were filled for glaucoma patients in 2001.

  • Rein et al. 2006, The Economic Burden of Major Adult Visual Disorders in the United States. (Original Source) [ No. of patients in---- Outpatient: 2,033,082 ---Inpatient: 263 –Prescription drugs, vitamins, and other medications: 1,482,941// Cost per patient (SE), $ Outp: 276 (2)--- Inp: 2270 (471) ---Prescr: 806 (11).

The average direct cost of glaucoma treatment ranges from $623 per year for patients with early-stage glaucoma to $2,511 per year for end stage patients.

  • Lee et al. 2006, A Multicenter, Retrospective Pilot Study of Resource Use and Costs Associated with Severity of Disease in Glaucoma.

 

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