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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Bronx Residents, with Highest Rates of Glaucoma in NYC, Urged to Have Eye Exams

Bronx, NY (January 8, 2010) - Bronx residents have among the highest rates of glaucoma in the nation and are urged to check their eye health during January, National Glaucoma Awareness Month. "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."

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States. 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, Montefiore treated 51,000 patients for 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 website: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts.asp.

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