Optometry's Meeting® |  Optometry's Career Center® |  AOA News |  Ask a Question |  Site Map  
POA Home
About the POA| Doctors| Paraoptometrics| Students and Educators| Media
 
Press Releases Pennsylvania Optometric Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:
Deborah Blanchard
O: 717-233-6455
Deb@poaeyes.org

Early Diagnosis and Treatment Can Lessen Effects of Glaucoma, the “Sneak Thief of Sight”

The Pennsylvania Optometric Association emphasizes importance of comprehensive eye exams during National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Download a Microsoft Word version of the press release

Harrisburg, Pa. (January 1, 2013) -Studies show that over the next 10 years the number of Americans diagnosed with glaucoma will increase by more than one million. The Pennsylvania Optometric Association urges people of all ages to take control of their eye health through early detection to help minimize the risk of developing glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve and often results in loss of sight.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S.; however, awareness surrounding the disease is relatively low. According to data from the American Optometric Association's latest American Eye-Q® consumer survey:

  • 90 percent of respondents think glaucoma is preventable-only 10 percent know it's not, but that it's treatable
  • 86 percent don't know what part of vision glaucoma affects-deterioration to peripheral vision making it hard to see
  • 72 percent think glaucoma has early warning signs-it does not-only an exam  that dilates the eyes can show what's going on

A yearly eye exam is the first line of defense for early detection of glaucoma. Since this is a disease that often strikes without pain or other symptoms, it's crucial for patients to receive a dilated eye exam where their eye doctor can thoroughly examine the pressure and nerves inside the eyes for potential signs of the disease.

Americans are not aware of the factors that put them most at risk for developing glaucoma:  86 percent of American Eye-Q® respondents are unaware that a person's race places them at a higher risk of developing glaucoma.  According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Other risk factors include those who have a family history of glaucoma, hypothyroidism, are over age 60, or individuals who have had severe eye trauma.

Treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops and medicines to lower pressure in the eyes.  In some cases, laser treatment or surgery may be effective in reducing pressure.

To locate an optometrist near you or for more information on glaucoma and other issues concerning eye health, visit www.poaeyes.org.

 

About the Pennsylvania Optometric Association (POA):
The Pennsylvania Optometric Association is the professional organization for over 1,250 doctors of optometry in Pennsylvania. An affiliate of the American Optometric Association, POA promotes the highest quality eye and vision care by optometrists, represents optometry to state government, provides its members with post-graduate education and membership benefits, and conducts activities in the interest of the visual welfare of the public. For more information, visit www.poaeyes.org.

About the American Eye-Q® survey:
The seventh annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From May 9 - 16, 2012, using an online methodology, PSB conducted 1,009 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of U.S. general population. (Margin of error at 95 percent confidence level)

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association represents approximately 36,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians. Optometrists serve patients in nearly 6,500 communities across the country, and in 3,500 of those communities are the only eye doctors. Doctors of optometry provide two-thirds of all primary eye care in the United States.

American Optometric Association doctors of optometry are highly qualified, trained doctors on the frontline of eye and vision care who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, optometrists play a major role in a patient's overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Prior to optometry school, optometrists typically complete four years of undergraduate study, culminating in a bachelor's degree. Required undergraduate coursework for pre-optometry students is extensive and covers a wide variety of advanced health, science and mathematics. Optometry school consists of four years of post-graduate, doctoral study concentrating on both the eye and systemic health. In addition to their formal training, doctors of optometry must undergo annual continuing education to stay current on the latest standards of care. For more information, visit www.aoa.org.

###

Media Center