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Free Vision and Glaucoma Screening for Adults at Duke Eye Center

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- A free vision and glaucoma screening for
adults age 18 and older will be held at Duke University Eye Center from 9
a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the
United States, is a group of eye diseases that gradually steals
sight without warning and often without symptoms. Vision loss
is caused by damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible
for carrying the images to the brain. Progressive damage to the
optic nerve over time can lead to vision loss and
blindness.

"The screening is held annually as a way to increase public
awareness of glaucoma in our local community," said Sameer
Ahmad, M.D., chief resident of ophthalmology at Duke. "Glaucoma
is known as the 'silent thief' because it progresses so slowly
that many people are unaware they have a vision problem until
later in the disease."

While having high pressure inside the eye is considered to
be the main risk factor for developing glaucoma, some people
with the disease have normal eye pressures, he added. "As many
as 30 to 40 percent of people with glaucoma can have eye
pressures in the normal range."

Much of the vision screening will be based on risk factors
that include a family history of the disease, being an African
American over the age of 40, a history of eye injury and anyone
over the age of 60. African Americans are five times more
likely to get glaucoma than Caucasians and four times more
likely to go blind as a result, according to the National Eye Institute.

"The screening is a helpful way to identify people at risk
for this disease because slight abnormalities to the visual
field can be an indication of early glaucoma," Ahmad added.
"However, abnormalities to the visual field can be due to
problems other than glaucoma and screenings such as this are
not meant to be a replacement for a thorough eye exam by a
qualified eye care professional."

If caught early, ophthalmologists can help treat glaucoma by
reducing intraocular pressure through the use of medications,
such as eye drops, or by surgery if medical therapy is
unsuccessful.

Parking at the Duke Eye Center will be free and door prizes
will be awarded.

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