What: Since the five senses are vital in our understanding of the world, the sensory deprivation someone goes through when one of the senses is lost can be devastating. In January, National Glaucoma Awareness Month gives attention to the sudden loss of sight.
Background: According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is often called the “sneak thief of sight,” and typically has no symptoms. The disease occurs when the optic nerve is damaged, causing vision loss, sometimes permanently. The biggest risk factor for glaucoma is increased pressure inside the eye, which can damage the optic nerve. However, there is a range of other conditions that causes the disease as well. While it’s most common in the middle-aged and elderly, the variety of causes allows glaucoma to affect all ages. National Glaucoma Awareness Month sheds light on the disease, and urges people to become more aware.
Story Pitch: A large number of companies and organizations can help to increase glaucoma awareness during this month. Vision care providers, optometrists and ophthalmologists may increase awareness by educating patients on the dangers of glaucoma and who is at risk, while also discussing prevention and the need for comprehensive exams and screenings. Eyewear manufacturers can promote awareness and prevention by providing education on preventing glaucoma. Vision advocacy groups are able to use the month to promote healthy vision, while stressing the importance of early vision care and exams.
Story Hook: The Glaucoma Research Foundation reports that over 4 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, with approximately 120,000 people going blind from the disease. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and the leading cause of preventable blindness. Consider the following questions when making your pitch:
- Who is at risk for glaucoma?
- What can be done to prevent the disease?
- How can you encourage vision health awareness?
- What age should people start considering themselves at risk for glaucoma?
Tips: Someone who works closely with glaucoma patients and knows the intricacies of the disease would make a good contact to speak about glaucoma prevention and treatment. In addition, someone who detected glaucoma early and took preventative measures can provide great insight into the disease.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Optometric Association
Glaucoma Research Foundation
Prevent Blindness America
–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
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