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Bronx Residents With Highest Rate of Glaucoma in NYC Urged to Have Eye Exams

"Twitter Chat" Hosted by @MontefioreNews on January 26, at 2 pm, #Monte_GLC

Bronx, NY (January 23, 2012) - January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Vision experts at Montefiore Medical Center encourage the public to learn more about this disease, which is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States.

On Thursday, January 26 at 2 p.m., follow the hashtag #Monte_GLC on Twitter to be part of the conversation and learn more about early detection and treatment of glaucoma. The chat will feature glaucoma specialist Anurag Shrivastava, MD, of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and will be moderated by National Glaucoma Research, a program of the American Health Assistance Foundation.

Educating the public about glaucoma is critical, particularly in the Bronx where residents have among the highest rates of this disease in the nation. Because glaucoma gives few warning signs until permanent, lasting damage has occurred, vision experts at Montefiore urge local men and women to regularly check their eye health.

"Blacks and Hispanics, who make up the majority of the Bronx population, have much higher rates of glaucoma than the general population," said Roy Chuck, MD, PhD, chairman of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "As a result, regular eye exams for these two groups, especially those over the age of 60 or those who have a family history of glaucoma, are extremely important."

Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease, gives few warning signs or symptoms until permanent damage to the optic nerve has already been done. This is the reason physicians recommend eye exams on an annual basis for patients who are the most at risk.

Montefiore Medical Center has one of the largest ophthalmology centers in the nation, with 24 full-time faculty and many part-time specialists. Last year, the center saw approximately 90,000 visits by patients with eye diseases. Montefiore also has one of the nation's largest pediatric eye care centers, with seven faculty specialists.

For more information about a glaucoma exam and to reach a glaucoma specialist in the Bronx, call (718) 920-2020. For general information about glaucoma, visit this web site http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp.