January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a disease where the pressure in the eye rises and slowly kills off the optic nerve and leads to blindness. Here are just a few facts about Glaucoma:
- It is estimated that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it.
- In the U.S., more than 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.
- Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
- After cataracts, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans.
- Blindness from glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
- African Americans are 15 times more likely to be visually impaired from glaucoma than Caucasians.
- The most common form, open-angle glaucoma, accounts for 19% of all blindness among African Americans compared to 6% in Caucasians.
- Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.
- Estimates put the total number of suspected cases of glaucoma at over 60 million worldwide.