Announcement: Glaucoma Awareness Month — January 2016

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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to encourage persons at risk for glaucoma to schedule a comprehensive, dilated eye exam to detect and manage glaucoma. CDC’s Vision Health Initiative in the Division of Diabetes Translation has partnered with the National Eye Institute’s National Eye Health Education Program to educate the public and raise awareness about glaucoma, its risk factors, and its prevention.

Glaucoma affects the optic nerve in the back of the eye, and is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness (1). Glaucoma has no warning signs, and approximately 50% of persons with glaucoma are unaware that they have the disease; therefore, a comprehensive, dilated eye examination is important for early detection and timely treatment (2). In 2010, approximately 2.7 million persons in the United States aged ≥40 years had glaucoma; by 2050, this number is projected to increase to 5.5 million persons (3). Groups at high risk include non-Hispanic blacks aged >40 years, Hispanics, Asians, persons aged ≥60 years, and those who have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma (4). Glaucoma also is associated with an increased risk for falls, fall-related injuries, depression, and reduced overall health and quality of life (57).

In addition to regular comprehensive, dilated eye examinations to detect and treat glaucoma, innovative community-based interventions are proving successful in reaching populations at high risk (8). Additional information about activities to promote early detection and treatment of glaucoma is available (,


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  3. America PB. The future of vision: forecasting the prevalence and costs of vision problems. Chicago, IL: Prevent Blindness America; 2014.
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  5. Ramulu PY, van Landingham SW, Massof RW, Chan ES, Ferrucci L, Friedman DS. Fear of falling and visual field loss from glaucoma. Ophthalmology 2012;119:1352–8. CrossRef PubMed
  6. Agorastos A, Skevas C, Matthaei M, et al. Depression, anxiety, and disturbed sleep in glaucoma. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 2013;25:205–13. CrossRef PubMed
  7. Goldberg I, Clement CI, Chiang TH, et al. Assessing quality of life in patients with glaucoma using the Glaucoma Quality of Life-15 (GQL-15) questionnaire. J Glaucoma 2009;18:6–12. CrossRef PubMed
  8. Owsley C, Rhodes LA, McGwin G Jr, et al. Eye Care Quality and Accessibility Improvement in the Community (EQUALITY) for adults at risk for glaucoma: study rationale and design. Int J Equity Health 2015;14:135. CrossRef PubMed

Suggested citation for this article: Announcement: Glaucoma Awareness Month — January 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:12. DOI:

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