Increase in Eye Disease Diagnoses Expected Among Minorities; Pilot Awareness Program Launched in Florida
Glaucoma is expected to increase among the baby boom generation, particularly among minorities, several groups said at a news conference to announce a Florida campaign to raise awareness of the disease among Hispanics, the Miami Herald reports. According to the Eye Disease Prevalence Group at NIH, serious eye disease among baby boomers is expected to increase by more than 50% by 2020.
According to a survey of 1,200 U.S. residents conducted by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 75% of blacks and Hispanics are unaware that they have a significant risk factor for glaucoma. Glaucoma rates for blacks and Hispanics are more than three times that of whites, the Herald reports. A separate survey by NIH's Los Angeles Latino Eye Study estimates that 75% of Hispanics have the eye disease but have not yet been diagnosed.
The EyeCare America is organizing the statewide awareness campaign, which features a toll-free helpline, treatments and no-cost screenings. To be eligible, participants must have a high risk for glaucoma because of age, race or ethnicity, or family history and have not had an eye exam in the last year.
Participants also must be uninsured U.S. citizens or legal uninsured residents. If the program proves to be successful, it will be expanded to other states and high-risk groups, according to Allison Neves, a spokesperson for EyeCare (Tasker, Miami Herald, 9/15).