NEW YORK, Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans ages 40 and older must be better educated about the risk factors for glaucoma, the silent nature of the condition, and its potentially serious outcomes, according to a new declaration issued by the Glaucoma Working Group, a panel of experts including The Glaucoma Foundation, the Alliance for Aging Research and leading ophthalmologists, in partnership with Merck. To achieve this goal, the Group encourages aging Americans to TAKE on Glaucoma (Take Action to Know your Eyes), by going to www.takeonglaucoma.com to learn about the risks, the importance of a comprehensive eye examination (including dilation) and proper disease management, if diagnosed.
"There is a silent nature to glaucoma, which often makes it difficult for people to take the condition seriously until irreversible damage is done," said Scott Christensen, president and CEO of The Glaucoma Foundation. "Our goal with this program is to make people aware of their risks, to encourage them to ask the right questions of their doctors, and to stress the importance of properly managing their disease if diagnosed."
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness, affecting over 60.5 million people around the world. Early detection and proper management can help prevent the potential serious outcomes of the disease, yet glaucoma continues to be under-diagnosed and associated with poor treatment adherence. To help address this critical situation, the Glaucoma Working Group examined the misperceptions and behaviors that often stand in the way of optimal diagnosis and care, identifying three major factors:Many older Americans do not consider glaucoma a personal health issue, even though their age alone puts them at risk; Many Americans do not visit their eye care professional often enough, and may not always receive a dilated exam when they do; and Adherence issues are