Minority Groups Are at Greater Risk for Eye Disease and Blindness

April is National Minority Health Month and, as with many health concerns, minority populations are at a greater risk for eye disease and visual impairment. For example, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. Three times as many African Americans have glaucoma than Caucasians, and four times as many are blind.(1)

EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, wants to improve access to care for underserved communities by offering free or no out-of-pocket cost eye exams to qualifying individuals. Regular eye exams are imperative to detect and treat eye diseases and prevent serious vision loss. This is especially true for people age 65 and older who are at increased risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

“The first line of defense against eye disease is to get an eye exam and find out if there’s a problem,” said Richard P. Mills, M.D., chairman of EyeCare America. “We want all Americans to get the eye care they need. It is our goal to ensure that the cost of medical care never stops someone from getting an exam.”

Minority groups are often at a higher risk for vision impairment and blindness due to higher rates of certain eye conditions