University of Miami 's Bascom Palmer study on glaucoma in Haitian-Americans

According to a recent published study almost 26% of Haitian-Americans are showing signs of glaucoma, ranging from early to advanced stages of the disease. Glaucoma is defined by a gradual atrophy of the optic nerve that can lead to blindness. The good news is that it can be screened in a healthcare community clinic and treated to forestall any further deterioration of the optic nerve.

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Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Miami University's Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Richard K. Lee, headed the published study "Glaucoma Screening in the Haitian Afro-Caribbean Population of South Florida". What the data revealed is that older and also younger patients both suffer from Glaucoma. In younger study participants, under 40 years of age, there were signs of high eye pressures and questionable changes to the optic disc. Furthermore, 32% of all study participants showed above-normal eye pressures, which in the end can effect extreme damage to the eye, leading to blindness. Study participants received referrals for further care with their doctors and ophthalmologists, along with participants' test results.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not take a position on screening for glaucoma. However, Dr. Lee comments ". . . these findings should start that shift." The aggregate of published studies on glaucoma rates, Dr. Lee believes, will make the case ". . . for targeted screening within communities and has implications for policy changes in the approach for ocular disease screening to prevent blindness."

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