African Americans And Glaucoma

Glaucoma and Cataracts

Glaucoma in African Americans

( — Blindness affect blacks more frequently than whites and
Hispanics. Cataracts and glaucoma are serious problems for African Americans,
causing over half of the cases of blindness in African Americans.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can harm the eye’s optic nerve and cause
vision loss and blindness. The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million
nerve fibers which takes the images we see to the brain. A healthy optic nerve
is needed for good vision.

Glaucoma often has few or no symptoms. If
symptoms do occur, they can include

• blurred vision
• seeing a halo around lights
• reddening of the eye

• severe eye pain
• nausea and vomiting

It’s important to get treatment for glaucoma right away. With early
treatment, you can often avoid major vision loss. If glaucoma is not treated,
you may start missing things to the side or out of the corner of your eye. Over
time, straight-ahead vision may get worse and you may become blind.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in African Americans.
African Americans are almost three times more likely to develop visual
impairment due to glaucoma than other ethnic groups.  But if glaucoma is found
and treated early, it can often be slowed and major vision loss can be delayed.

African Americans over age 40 should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at
least once every two years.