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2010 Glaucoma Fact Sheet

Cases of Glaucoma in Ohio:

Total: 93,480

Male: 36,110

Female: 57,629

White: 74,282

Black: 17,736

Hispanic: 895

Other: 1,595

Source: Vision Problems in Ohio copyright 2008 Prevent Blindness Ohio

  • The 2008 update to Prevent Blindness America's Vision Problems in the U.S. report states that close to 2.3 million Americans age 40 and older, or about 1.9 percent of that population, have glaucoma.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world after cataracts, (according to the World Health Organization), and the leading cause of blindness in African-Americans (according to the National Institutes of Health).
  • Glaucoma often occurs earlier in life in African-Americans­on average, about 10 years earlier than in other ethnic populations (Glaucoma Research Foundation)
  • Glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide affecting approximately 70 million people (Thylefors B, Ne´grel AD, Pararajasegaram R, Dadzie KY. Global data on blindness. Bulletin World Health Organ. 1995;73:115–121.)
  • Americans may live significantly longer in the future than current U.S. government projections, and that could mean sharply higher costs than anticipated for Medicare and other programs. (MacArthur Research Network on an Aging Society)
  • By 2050, Americans may live as much as eight years longer than government forecasts and that spending by Medicare and Social Security could rise by $3.2 trillion to $8.3 trillion above current projections. (MacArthur Research Network on an Aging Society)
  • Prevent Blindness America’s 2007 research study, “The Economic Impact of Vision Problems” states that glaucoma costs the U.S. economy $2.86 billion every year in direct medical costs for outpatient, inpatient and prescription drug services.
  • The same study found that glaucoma patients between the ages of 40 and 64 years of age can expect to pay $3,352 annually per person in direct medical costs for outpatient, inpatient and prescription drug services. For those 65 and older, the annual costs jump to $5,243 per person.
  • While open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma among Hispanics, Caucasians and African Americans, another form of glaucoma known as acute angle-closure glaucoma has traditionally been more common in certain Asian populations and Americans of Asian descent. (Glaucoma Research Foundation)
  • Juvenile open angle glaucoma (JOAG) is a rare form of glaucoma that accounts for approximately one percent of total cases. The clinical features of JOAG are the same as those of more common forms of glaucoma.
  • Approximately 120,000 people are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9-12 percent of all cases of blindness in the U.S. (National Eye Health Program/National Institutes of Health).

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation:

  • Glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African-Americans than in Caucasians.
  • African-Americans ages 45-65 are 14 to 17 times more likely to go blind from glaucoma than Caucasians with glaucoma in the same age group.
  • Recent studies indicate that the risk for Hispanic populations is greater than those of predominantly European ancestry, and that the risk increases among Hispanics over age 60.
  • In the early stages, glaucoma has no symptoms, no noticeable vision loss, no pain, which is why it is called the “sneak thief of sight.” By the time symptoms start to appear, some permanent damage to the eye has usually occurred.
  • Glaucoma that is undiagnosed or poorly controlled can lead to damage of the optic nerve, visual field loss and ultimately sight loss. People with glaucoma usually lose peripheral vision first. Over time, glaucoma may also damage central vision. Once lost, vision cannot be restored.
  • Prevent Blindness America recommends that older people get regular, comprehensive eye exams, even if they have no signs of vision problems. The earlier glaucoma is detected, the better the chances are of preserving sight.
  • Prevent Blindness America, with support from Alcon, Inc., provides “The Glaucoma Learning Center,” a comprehensive online tool to educate consumers on a variety of topics related to the disease at www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma.
  • Everyone is at risk for glaucoma from young to old. Although older people are at higher risk, approximately 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States is diagnosed with the disease (according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation).

Glaucoma Basics

Types of Glaucoma and Risk Factors

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