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Reston   (703) 485-2148 Leesburg   (703) 777-1244

What African Americans Need to Know About Their Risk of Glaucoma

At NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA, Jacqueline D Griffiths, M.D. and her team of eye doctors and specialists work to ensure that their patients enjoy healthy eyes and clear eyesight for many years to come.  In addition to general eye checkups and specialized services, the professionals at NewView Eye Center believe in providing their patients with the information they need to protect their eye health.

With regards to glaucoma and the African American community, patients may have heard that the risk of vision loss from glaucoma is relatively higher than that of other ethnic groups.  But why is the African American community more likely to experience this eye disease – and what can patients do to prevent glaucoma-related vision loss?

African Americans and Increased Glaucoma Risks

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to vision loss if left untreated.  Glaucoma affects the optic nerve, which is directly responsible for transmitting images from our eyes to the brain.  Glaucoma increases the pressure inside of the eye, which is referred to as intraocular pressure (IOP).  This pressure is caused by the eye’s inability to drain aqueous humor, which builds up within the eye and damages the optic nerve.  This damage can be irreversible, leading to severe vision loss and, in worse case scenarios, blindness.

Glaucoma-related vision loss is a particular risk that the African American community faces.  Studies have shown that African Americans are four times more likely to experience vision loss as a result of glaucoma than Caucasians, and often experience it ten years earlier.  Multiple factors are believed to be behind this phenomenon.  Some eye experts believe that African Americans are more susceptible to increased IOP, which means that glaucoma cases will be naturally higher within this community.  Other eye experts point out that African Americans have less access to preventative healthcare than Caucasians for many economic reasons.  This means that African Americans may be less likely to schedule eye appointments that detect early signs of increased IOP and glaucoma.

It’s likely that a combination of both of these factors are responsible for the increased likelihood of glaucoma within the African American community.

Prevent Glaucoma-Related Vision Loss at NewView Eye Center

No matter what your racial identity, it’s important for all patients to prioritize the kind of preventative eye care that reduces the risk of glaucoma-related vision loss.  Visit NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA today for a comprehensive eye health checkup and experience healthy vision for life. We’re located in the Washington DC metro in Northern Virginia, near the Dulles Airport in Fairfax County. Leave us a note here or call 703-834-9777.