Middle-aged black folks who want to avoid developingglaucoma may benefit from frequent national screenings, according to a studypublished in the Archives of Ophthalmology and reported by HealthDay News.  

Glaucoma is a chronic, degenerative eye disease that affectsmore than 2 million Americans and nearly 2 percent of Americans older than 40. Butmany cases go undiagnosed—and most often they affect African Americans.  

For the study, researchers from Beth Israel DeaconessMedical Center and Harvard Medical School used data from the Eye Disease PrevalenceResearch Group and the Baltimore Eye Study to calculate how a hypothetical nationalglaucoma screening policy for black people would affect that population. 

Researchers found that a universal, community-based glaucomascreening program for black people without the condition, between ages 50 and 59,would reduce the prevalence of undiagnosed cases over their lifetime by slightlymore than half. What’s more, findings also showed the program would drop glaucoma-relatedvisual impairment from 4.6 to 4.4 percent and glaucoma-related blindness from6.1 to 5.6 percent.  

“We conclude that routine screening for glaucoma in African-Americanindividuals is a potentially clinically effective and economical method toreduce the burden of glaucoma-related visual impairment and blindness,” studyauthors wrote. 

Next, researchers hope to study the long-term costs associatedwith glaucoma treatment and the ways that delayed visual impairment affectpeople’s quality of life. 

Don’t let vision problems cause the lights to dim aroundyou. Click here to learn more about glaucoma.