January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

CHICAGO—Eyecare groups are calling attention to the second leading cause of blindness in the world during National Glaucoma Awareness Month in January. Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and other leading eye health organizations, including the American Optometric Association, the National Eye Institute and the Glaucoma Research Foundation, are encouraging people to educate themselves about this disease and get a comprehensive eye exam.

More than 2.2 million Americans aged 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the most common form, and at least half of them don’t even know they have it, according to PBA. After cataracts, it is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the first among African Americans. Research funded by PBA determined that glaucoma costs the U.S. economy $2.86 billion every year in direct medical costs for outpatient, inpatient and prescription drug services. “We want to stress to everyone that vision can be saved from glaucoma through early diagnosis and treatment,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of PBA.