Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common eye condition associated with irreversible vision loss. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting 3 million people in the United States.  More than 120,000 people in the U.S. are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness. 1 By 2030, more than 4 million U.S. adults over 40 are predicted to have glaucoma; this number is expected to increase to over 6 million by 2050.2

Although there are different types of glaucoma the most common one is Open-angle glaucoma (OAG). The Glaucoma Research Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for glaucoma offers information about the different types of glaucoma in both English and Spanish.

glaucoma-60759953
glaucoma-58245802

Hispanics/Latinos and Glaucoma

It is widely recognized that Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans experience a higher prevalence of glaucoma when compared to non-Hispanic White Americans3.

Other groups at higher risk include:

  • Those over the age of 60, especially if you are Hispanic or Latino
  • People with a family history of glaucoma, and
  • People who have diabetes and high or very low blood pressure.,2,4

Decreasing Your Risk 

The disease is asymptomatic and thus, half of those affected are unaware they have itl.1   Hence, a comprehensive eye exam is recommended, screening for risk factors as well as undiagnosed cases. Although vision loss caused by glaucoma is irreversible it is also preventable, making early detection and management critical. Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, but you can help preserve your vision health and prevent vision loss by taking the actions below:3

  • Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to catch glaucoma early and start treatment.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, control your blood pressure, stay physically active, and avoid smoking.
  • Open-angle glaucoma does not have symptoms and is hereditary, so talk to your family members about their vision health to help protect your eyes—and theirs.

Your eye doctor may look at many factors before he/she makes recommendations about your treatment. Information on Glaucoma testing is available from the Glaucoma Research Foundation in both English and Spanish

Note: There are several organizations that also offer access to free glaucoma screening for those who are eligible.

doctor-checking-patients-eyes-for-glaucoma-9003042

Treating Glaucoma

Treatment plans for Glaucoma can differ depending on the type of glaucoma and the individual patient. Information on Treatment options by glaucoma type are available from the Glaucoma Research Foundation in English and Spanish.

Additional resources from the National Eye Institute:

References

  1. Glaucoma: A Hidden Threat to Vision Health Rising Swiftly, Web MD  https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/news/20230920/cases-of-glaucoma-expected-to-rapidly-increase,  Accessed 2/9/24
  2. Ou, Yvonne, MD,  Glaucoma in the African American and Hispanic Communities: What We Know in 2023,” https://www.brightfocus.org/glaucoma/article/glaucoma-african-american-and-hispanic-communities
  3. Shaili S. DavuluruAlison T. JessJoshua Soo Bin KimKristy YooVan NguyenBenjamin Y. Xu, Identifying, Understanding, and Addressing Disparities in Glaucoma Care in the United States, Transitional Vision & Science technology, October 2023 https://tvst.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2792962#247612394
  4. “Don't Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight!,” Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/glaucoma-awareness.html,  Accessed 2/9/24