A Declaration from the Glaucoma Working Group to Take Action to Know your Eyes
Today, more than 40 million Americans are age 65 or older. By 2050, it is estimated that figure will rise to 88.5 million. Our nation is aging rapidly, and this demographic shift likely means longer hospital stays, more doctor visits, and greater healthcare expenditures for more and more Americans. If you’re a Baby Boomer and looking ahead to your silver years, you already have plenty to think about: retirement, the economy, elderly parents, and young adult children. It’s hard to find time to focus on your health–especially if you feel healthy!
One condition that’s often overlooked as we age is glaucoma–damage to the optic nerve that can lead to progressive, insidious, irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, affecting 60.5 million people today and set to reach 79.6 million by 2020. Early detection and proper management can help prevent the serious outcomes of glaucoma. Yet for some reason, the disease continues to be under-diagnosed and associated with poor treatment adherence.
Why is glaucoma often overlooked by patients, when eyesight is so precious? We convened a panel of experts known as the Glaucoma Working Group to address this question. The group examined underlying challenges surrounding glaucoma diagnosis and management, and proposed solutions to help educate, motivate, and empower two audiences: those who are at risk for glaucoma but are not diagnosed (“undiagnosed patients”) and those who have been diagnosed but may be under-treated (“diagnosed patients”).
This document contains an overview of the Glaucoma Working Group’s discussions, which may be of interest to eye care professionals (ECPs), advocacy groups, and policymakers. It also includes a powerful call to action that we hope will inspire you–the patient–to take an active role in managing glaucoma and help protect the gift of sight.
Scott R. Christensen
President & CEO
The Glaucoma Foundation
Daniel P. Perry
President & CEO
The Alliance for Aging Research