On February 26, 2014, UNC Eye Chairman Donald L. Budenz, MD, MPH and Glaucoma Fellow O'Rese J. Knight met with US Senator Kay Hagan for an event that the Senator calls "Carolina Coffee" to discuss the critical importance of funding from the National Institute of Health for glaucoma research.
Senator Hagan's office is open every Wednesday morning, when the Senate is in session, for North Carolinians to come by and talk with her and her staff.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve is connected to the retina — a layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye — and is made up of many nerve fibers, like an electric cable is made up of many wires. It is the optic nerve that sends signals from your retina to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as the images you see.
- Among Americans, higher-risk groups include those of African or Hispanic heritage and others with a family history of the illness.
- Elderly people with African ancestry are five times more likely to develop glaucoma and 14 to 17 times more likely to become blind than similarly aged people with European ancestry.
- The risk for Hispanic Americans rises markedly after age 60.
- Those of any ethnicity who have a family history of the illness are four to nine times more susceptible.
If you have symptoms of or are at risk for eye diseases like glaucoma, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends seeing your ophthalmologist to determine how frequently your eyes should be examined. If you are age 65 and older or have high risks for glaucoma, you may qualify for an eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost through EyeCare America. Those with no symptoms or risk factors for eye disease should get a baseline screening at age 40, when the signs of disease and change in vision may start to occur.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Budenz or Dr. Knight, please call 919-445-2020.