One million Americans will be diagnosed with glaucoma in the next 10 years, prompting Kentucky optometrists to raise awareness of the disease this month.
"People who do not visit their eye doctor on a regular basis are putting their vision and quality of life at risk," said Dr. Ben Gaddie, president of the Kentucky Optometric Association. "Glaucoma is often referred to as 'the sneak thief of sight' because it can strike without pain or other symptoms. Vision lost to glaucoma cannot be restored, so early detection and treatment are paramount."
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the country. Data from the American Optometric Association show 50 percent of Americans incorrectly believe glaucoma is preventable and fewer than 20 percent of Americans are aware glaucoma causes deterioration of peripheral vision.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation has found African Americans ages 45 to 65 are 14 to 17 times more likely to go blind from the disease than Caucasians. People with a family history of glaucoma, those over the age of 60 or people who have experienced severe eye trauma are also more prone to the disease. (Read more)