Newswise — Upstate Medical University has produced a public service announcement (PSA) that calls attention to the importance of being tested for glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. The PSA is offered in collaboration with the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

The PSA features nationally recognized glaucoma specialist Robert Fechtner, M.D., who joined Upstate Medical University last fall as a SUNY Empire Innovation Scholar and professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. Fechtner is also executive vice president of the World Glaucoma Association.

In the PSA, Fechtner discusses risk factors for glaucoma and encourages individuals to make an appointment with their eye doctor for a thorough exam that includes testing for glaucoma. He also encourages those who have glaucoma to follow their doctor’s instructions, to keep their appointments and to ask about clinical trials for glaucoma. Contact information for the Glaucoma Research Foundation and the American Glaucoma Society is provided, offering viewers the opportunity to learn more about the condition.

“Glaucoma has no symptoms and it can rob people of their vision before they know it,” says Fechtner. “This is why it is important for people to have a thorough exam that includes testing for glaucoma.”

“It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half of those know they have it,” says Thomas Brunner, president and CEO, Glaucoma Research Foundation. “Glaucoma can be controlled and vision can be saved if it is diagnosed and treated in its early stages.”

Glaucoma facts: (Glaucoma Research Foundation):

  • Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated.
  • There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma and vision loss cannot be regained. However, with medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss of vision. Diagnosis is the first step to preserving vision.
  • Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, from babies to senior citizens. High-risk groups include African Americans, people over age 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics and people who are severely nearsighted.
  • The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get tested. If you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.
  • In the U.S., more than 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9 percent to 12 percent of all cases of blindness.
  • After cataracts, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans.

Upstate Medical University’s Ophthalmology Department is comprised of the University Vision Care and Research Centers. The Center for Vision Care is a full service ophthalmology center serving the communities of Central New York. Since its inception in 1997, the Center for Vision Research has been supported by extramural research funds in excess of $24 million dollars from private foundations and government agencies.

Founded in San Francisco in 1978, Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF) is America’s oldest and most experienced institution dedicated solely to its mission: Preventing vision loss from glaucoma by investing in innovative research, education and support with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. GRF has a proven track record of innovative, results-oriented research and produces definitive educational materials used by eye care professionals across the country. The Glaucoma Research Foundation provides valuable information about glaucoma to more than 4 million visitors annually.

To view the glaucoma PSA, visit Glaucoma Research Foundation or Upstate Medical University YouTube.


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