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National Eye Institute Targets Mexican-Americans for Glaucoma Awareness

NIH's National Eye Institute is seeking to raise glaucoma awareness among Mexican-Americans, who have a higher risk for the disease than others, the Casa Grande Valley Dispatch reports.

Mexican-Americans over age 60, blacks over age 40 and people with a family history of glaucoma all face a higher risk for the disease. Five percent of Hispanics have primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form glaucoma.

The rate increases to 8% among those in their 60s and to 15% for those in their 70s. Hispanics are the least likely of all racial and ethnic groups to be aware of the disease, with 61% reporting having heard of glaucoma, compared with 72% of Asians, 94% of blacks and 95% of whites, the Dispatch reports.

In addition, Hispanics were the least likely of all groups to report having their eyes dilated during a regular eye examination. Seventy-six percent of blacks, 80% of Hispanics, 84% of Asian-Americans and 86% of whites reported having their eyes examined as recommended.

Paul Sieving, director of the eye institute, said, "NEI-funded research has shown that treatment during the early stages of glaucoma can control the disease and prevent future vision loss and blindness.

This is why NEI encourages people at higher risk for glaucoma to get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years".


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