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What is Glaucoma?

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, reminding us how important eye care is. Glaucoma is group of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma can often be difficult to detect because it rarely produces any symptoms until the damage has already been done. Researchers suggest that half of all people with glaucoma don’t even know they have it.

This is why regular eye exams are so important. Experts recommend getting a routine comprehensive exam every year or two, especially after age 40. Treatment can help minimize vision loss from glaucoma, so early detection is critical.

80+ PAGNY physicians and healthcare professionals provide accessible eye exams and care at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities across the city, including in communities with multiple risk factors for glaucoma.

Who is most at risk?

Glaucoma affects over 3 million Americans, and the risk of glaucoma rises as we age. Anyone can get glaucoma, but some communities are more vulnerable.

Those at higher risk  for glaucoma include:

  • Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos

  • African Americans over age 40

  • People with a family history of glaucoma

The New York State Department of Health says that glaucoma is especially common for “non-Hispanic blacks, those with high school educations or less, and those with annual incomes less than $50,000.” On a global scale, researchers have found that people of African ancestry and anyone living in urban communities were more likely to have glaucoma than people of European ancestry or those living in rural areas. All these risk factors suggest that a large portion of NYC’s diverse population is especially susceptible to glaucoma, given the consequences of income, class, and racism.

PAGNY's Commitment

PAGNY’s diverse healthcare workforce serves these communities, providing care no matter a patient’s ability to pay. In the bustling South Bronx, a dozen PAGNY optometrists and physicians in NYC H+H/Lincoln’s Ophthalmology Surgery department screen and treat patients. Over 20 PAGNY ophthalmology professionals provide robust vision care at NYC H+H Jacobi in the East Bronx, where patients receive the expertise of a large academic hospital.

Vision care is often separated from our other forms of healthcare or insurance; routine eye exams aren’t even covered by an Original Medicare plan. PAGNY professionals across the city ensure that all New Yorkers get vision care, regardless of their ability to pay. We provide responsive, patient-centered care with the highest degree of sensitivity to the needs of everyone in our multicultural New York Community.

We recognize National Glaucoma Awareness Month by acknowledging the importance of our eye health. Schedule your annual eye exam at an NYC H+H location today!


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