You Could Have Glaucoma & Not Know It: 3 Reasons To Have Your Eyes Checked

Older African American man looking out window

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. It’s time to talk about eye health, especially in our community. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve. More than 520,000 African American have glaucoma, according to the National Eye Institute. If it’s been awhile since your last eye exam, here are three reasons to make an appointment:

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1. African Americans are at higher risk. 

The National Eye Institute encourages you to save your sight from vision loss and blindness by knowing your risk for glaucoma—and doing something about it! Glaucoma can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. More than half of all people with glaucoma don’t know they have it. And, quite often, by the time people are diagnosed with glaucoma, they have already begun to notice changes in their side, or peripheral, vision.

This is especially true for African Americans—those over age 40 and those with a family history of glaucoma are at higher risk for the disease. More than 520,000 African Americans have glaucoma, and this number is expected to increase by more than 300,000 over the next 15 years. The disease is a leading cause of blindness among African Americans.