Number of Glaucoma Cases in the United States Climbs 22 Percent – with 48,000 case in Wisconsin
More than 2.7 million Americans age 40 and older have open-angle glaucoma, a 22 percent increase from just 10 years ago, according to the 2012 Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute. In Wisconsin alone, more than 48,000 residents 40 and older have glaucoma.
Most troubling of all? More than half of people who have glaucoma are not aware of it.
Glaucoma symptoms develop so gradually that many people with glaucoma don’t notice symptoms right away, so glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight.” Glaucoma is actually a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve. Symptoms for open-angle glaucoma may include developing blind spots in the peripheral vision. If left untreated, over time, glaucoma may also damage central vision.
Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it cannot be restored. However, promising research from the University of Michigan Medical School, led by Joshua Stein, MD, MS, found that the risk for glaucoma was reduced by eight percent in hyperlipidemia patients who took statins continuously for two years, compared with patients who did not take statins. The study entitled “The Relationship Between Statin Use and Open-Angle Glaucoma” found that statin use may be most effective in the early stages of the disease or as a preventive measure. The findings offer encouragement for future research on the effects of statins on a broader group of people.
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin provides free resources to educate the public on glaucoma through “The Glaucoma Learning Center,” a website at http://wisconsin.preventblindness.org/glaucoma and printed materials, available by request, by calling Prevent Blindness Wisconsin at 414-765-0505.
New Mobile Eyes Vouchers help adults receive glasses and eye exams!
Thanks to the VSP Mobile Eyes Program, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin is distributing vouchers for free eye exams and glasses to low-income adults who qualify. In fact, since May, 2012, more than 40 Wisconsin adults have received care and glasses worth a total of $5,484. As one recipient pointed out, “Now that I have glasses that I can see through, I can actually read things around me again. Thank you so much for the assistance in my personal goal… to better my life!” If you know a low-income adult or college student who is uninsured and needs an eye exam and glasses, visit http://wisconsin.preventblindness.org/healthy-eyes-sight-students-applications-criteria-sheets for a voucher application and more information.
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