Glaucoma affects more than 2.2 million Americans,1 age 40 and over, and is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.2 As the world’s population ages, prevalence of the disease will continue to increase.3 By 2020, more than 3 million Americans are expected to develop primary open-angle glaucoma.4 Primary open-angle glaucoma accounts for nearly 90 percent of all glaucoma cases globally.5
Alcon provides a broad spectrum of pharmaceutical and surgical treatment solutions to address patient needs at all stages of glaucoma management and care. Glaucoma cannot be prevented and there is no cure.6 But it is a disease that, in many cases, can be controlled once it is properly diagnosed and if the major risk factor (elevated eye pressure) is treated early.7
Simulated loss of vision associated with glaucoma
How do you know if you have glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that lead to progressive damage of the optic nerve.8 As the optic nerve is key to the transmission of information from the eye to the brain,9 glaucoma can result in a gradual, irreversible loss of vision, and eventually blindness.10
When a person has glaucoma, they often have increased intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye.11 In rare cases, however, even people who have a normal range of IOP can develop glaucoma.12
Primary open-angle glaucoma is often called the “the silent thief” or “the sneak thief of sight”13 because, during the early to middle stages of the disease, there are usually no noticeable symptoms14 until irreversible damage has occurred.15 As much as 40% of vision can be lost before a person begins to notice.16
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but certain risk factors can put you at higher risk, such as:17,18,19
Having increased IOP
Being over the age of 40
Race, especially Hispanic and African-American descent
Family history – primary open-angle glaucoma is hereditary
Certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure
Current or previous eye injuries
Unfortunately, glaucoma is a disease that continues to remain under-diagnosed – up to half of Americans with glaucoma are not aware they have it,20 so it’s important to visit an eye care professional to receive regular check-ups and exams. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to managing glaucoma,21 as it must be treated over the course of one’s life,22 and high IOP must be managed every day.23
How is glaucoma treated?
Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, traditional surgery such as trabeculectomy, or a combination of these methods.24 As the world leader in providing treatment solutions for patients living with glaucoma, we are committed to long-term investments in glaucoma research and development that can address unmet medical needs, expand our product pipeline, and advance the treatment of glaucoma to reduce the burden of disease around the globe.