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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

“Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. But half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it,” according to the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Because it has no symptoms in its early stages, the condition is often called “the silent thief of sight.” The only way to check for glaucoma is through a comprehensive eye examination. Early detection and treatment can help to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. Each January, Glaucoma Awareness Month seeks to increase public knowledge about the condition and to encourage everyone at higher risk to get a “dilated eye exam” to protect vision. Although anyone can get glaucoma, some people are at higher risk, including those over age 60, African Americans over age 40, Asian Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans, and individuals with a family history of glaucoma. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that all health adults get a comprehensive eye exam by age 40 to screen for eye diseases. Those with a family history of eye disease “should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.” AAO offers promotional materials to heighten awareness of glaucoma, including a sample press release, newsletter article, social posts, and downloadable infographics. NEI has a wide array of resources as well to help share the message about early detection and treatment of glaucoma. These include articles and fact sheets, videos and webinars, suggested activities, social media messages and more.  Additional details are on the NEI webpage covering Glaucoma Awareness Month. Information about the condition and how to raise awareness is also provided by the Glaucoma Research Foundation’s webpage on Glaucoma Awareness Month. Prevent Blindness offers individuals with glaucoma, care partners, and professionals free information and educational resources as well. Their new “Glaucoma Community Toolkit” is available for providers and health care professionals. In addition, “The Glaucoma Community” provides a “dedicated newsfeed on glaucoma, a community chat, Facebook, educational materials in several languages, and more. A new “Glaucoma Financial Assistance Information” includes a listing of services to help individuals in need receive access to eyecare. Read more in the press release announcing that Prevent Blindness Joins National Glaucoma Awareness Month in January to Educate the Public and Professionals on the “Silent Thief of Sight.”