Ophthalmology faculty, residents and IU School of Medicine students will provide the free glaucoma screenings in the first floor conference room at the eye institute, 1160 W. Michigan St., in Indianapolis on the IUPUI campus. (www.glick.iu.edu) The free screening is in conjunction with World Glaucoma Week, observed March 11-17, to raise awareness about the second most common form of blindness worldwide.
“Everyone over age 60 is at increased risk for glaucoma, but the risk is greater for African-Americans over age 40 and for Hispanics,” explained Louis B. Cantor, M.D., chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Glick Eye Institute at the IU School of Medicine. Dr. Cantor, a glaucoma specialist and regional coordinator for World Glaucoma Week, says everyone should have a baseline eye exam by age 40, the age at which diseases of the aging eye can begin to manifest
Additional risk factors for glaucoma include:
Having a family history of glaucoma
Having elevated eye pressure
Being farsighted or nearsighted
Having previous eye injuries
Having other health problems such as diabetes, low blood pressure or migraine headaches.
Lyne Racette, Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology and a researcher at the Glick Eye Institute, will be on hand to screen prospective patients for her study on why glaucoma is more prevalent in African-Americans than in Americans of European descent.
“African-Americans are up to six times more likely to develop glaucoma than Caucasians,” said Dr. Racette. “We don’t know why the disease appears earlier in people of African descent, or why it’s more likely to result in irreversible blindness or progress more rapidly.”
Her study will attempt to isolate why this sight-robbing disease is more common in minorities.
Dr. Cantor says glaucoma can lead to blindness if left untreated; that is why screenings are so important. Patients who are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease often are treated with surgery, eye drops or both. Those treatments might slow or halt progression of the disease and stave off blindness.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Glaucoma Association. It is estimated that 4.5 million people are blind due to glaucoma – this number is expected to rise to 11.2 million by 2020.
More information on glaucoma, the screenings, and parking is available at www.glick.iu.edu
Attendees who park in the Riley Outpatient Garage will receive validation for free parking.