Both supermodel Christie Brinkley and Bono, the lead singer of U2, were diagnosed with glaucoma during a routine eye exam. Both were also surprised by the diagnosis since they weren’t experiencing problems with their vision. That’s the sinister nature of glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide: People with glaucoma, a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve, can lose most of their vision before they experience symptoms. Once vision is lost, it cannot be regained. That’s why Front Range Eye Physicians and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are urging people to get regular eye screenings to protect their good vision. Even though there are effective treatment options, the best protection against vision loss from glaucoma is an early diagnosis. Here’s who’s most at risk:
- African Americans are 6-8x more likely to get glaucoma, and to go blind from it, than white Americans.
- People with diabetes are 2x more likely to get glaucoma.
- Hispanic Americans face increased risk comparable to African Americans, and the disease may also progress faster for them.
- Asians are at an increased risk for the less common types of glaucoma: angle-closure glaucoma and normal-tension glaucoma.
- Also at risk are people over age 40, those who are severely nearsighted, and those who have a family history of glaucoma.
For more information about eye health and how to protect your eyes, visit the Academy’s EyeSmart website.