A child with glaucoma has their eye examined.

Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month - an opportunity to raise awareness of the fourth leading cause of blindness in the world. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, 3 million people are blinded by glaucoma. Discover more about this irreversible eye condition and what we're doing about it.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is characterized by a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve and visual field. The human eye is filled with a clear liquid which is made continuously and then drained away, always keeping the same amount of liquid in the eye. When the opening that allows the liquid to drain is closed, more and more liquid will build up in the eye increasing the pressure.

Over time, this increased pressure can damage the eye and cause reduced vision and then blindness which cannot be reversed. Commonly, glaucoma presents no symptoms and once vision is lost, it's permanent, which is why it's so critical to get regular eye screenings to detect the eye condition as early as possible.

In communities around the world, our long-term goal is to increase the quality of eye care available including better access to screenings, and to build capacity in managing the condition once diagnosed.

Glaucoma: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Read more

Glaucoma Figures Worldwide

According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness it has been estimated that by 2020 there were approximately 76 million people with glaucoma. However, most forms of glaucoma do not show symptoms in the early stages and therefore patients often present for treatment only after vision loss has occurred. This means the number of people with glaucoma is much larger than the figures presented here.

It is estimated that by 2040 the number of people living with glaucoma-induced blindness or vision loss will rise to 112 million (Tham et al., 2014). These figures are set to rise, unless improved screening and effective treatment strategies are successful.

Glaucoma Stories From the Field

You've given Shunwen hope for a brighter future

July 26, 2017

Sporting a pink sweater and holding the hand of her legal guardian, seven-year-old glaucoma teaching case Shunwen Wang smiles when spoken to and easily breaks into giggles.
Read full story

How Orbis Is Fighting Glaucoma

Training & innovation

Through our global projects, our expert volunteers are providing invaluable training to eye health teams around the world to better understand and treat glaucoma, both in-person and online through our telemedicine platform Cybersight.

Strengthening eye health systems

The best way to prevent sight loss caused by glaucoma is by detecting it and diagnosing it early through screenings. Around the world, we're building the infrastructure and scaling up capacity to provide better access to eye health services including screenings.

Dr. Dawn Grosvenor,

Orbis trainee and glaucoma specialist, Department of Ophthalmology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados

Blind­ness is a loss of inde­pen­dence, a shat­ter­ing life change. I am on the front line of fight­ing blind­ness, sav­ing sight. It’s my job to do every­thing in my pow­er to pro­tect my patients from this occur­rence, and for those for whom no more can be done, and who have lost the bat­tle, to allow them to grieve in a healthy way, and then to show them that we can’t allow our lives to stop, just because a light has gone out.”

During Glaucoma Awareness Month, we'd like to pay a special thanks to all of our volunteers, partners and supporters, who have enabled us to improve the quality of eye care for people impacted by glaucoma across the world.

With your ongoing support, we've been able to detect and manage this leading cause of avoidable blindness more effectively and prevent further damage to their sight.

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Help Us Fight Glaucoma Worldwide

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