World Glaucoma Week Highlights the Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment

May 17, 2021 | Blog

In March, we recognized World Glaucoma Week, a global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) aimed at raising awareness of glaucoma. Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, is caused by increased pressure in the eye due to an imbalance in production and outflow of ocular fluid. In 2020, glaucoma affected 80 million people worldwide.

There are often no early symptoms of open-angle glaucoma, which is why so many people living with the condition are unaware and undiagnosed while pre-symptomatic. Approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but 50% do not know they have the disease. Because of this, and other potential vision issues, it’s extremely important that people keep up routine appointments with their eye doctors. Since glaucoma is a progressive eye disease, the longer it’s left untreated, the greater the possibility of visual impairment. Once vision is lost due to glaucoma, it cannot be regained.

Once glaucoma is detected, treatment should be evaluated as soon as possible in order to prevent any further vision loss. There are many safe and effective treatments available for glaucoma, including the iStent inject® W. The iStent inject® W is one of the smallest medical devices known to be implanted in the human body and can help reduce pressure in the eye. It has the potential to reduce or eliminate the need for medication, such as daily eye drops, at the discretion of a physician.

To highlight our commitment to those across the globe who are living with glaucoma and members of the ophthalmic and optometric communities who work to diagnose and treat the disease, we launched a video series called “Making an iMPACT: Glaucoma Perspectives,” during World Glaucoma Week. We also partnered with ophthalmology practices across the United States that held free glaucoma screenings to promote awareness surrounding the importance of early detection and treatment. Keep reading to hear from ophthalmologists on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment and to learn more about the free glaucoma screenings. You can also hear from a person who is living with glaucoma and understand why he is so thankful that he opted to treat his condition in a timely manner.

KFOR-TV: Dr. Sarkisian Emphasizes Early Detection Key to Glaucoma Outlook

To promote awareness and emphasize the importance of early detection, Oklahoma Eye Surgeons of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, held free glaucoma screenings during World Glaucoma Week. Anyone with a family history of glaucoma, or simply wished to have their eyes checked for the disease, was encouraged to make an appointment.

Dr. Steven Sarkisian, CEO of Oklahoma Eye Surgeons, describes glaucoma as “the silent sneak thief of sight” because many people don’t have noticeable symptoms, even if they do have high intraocular pressure, until it’s too late. Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, and unfortunately optic nerve damage is permanent, explains Dr. Sarkisian.

While glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in African Americans and Hispanic women, anyone can develop glaucoma. “The key really is early detection,” says Dr. Sarkisian, who recommends getting checked for the condition by a glaucoma specialist. Although there’s no prevention of or cure for glaucoma, there are excellent treatments available, including the iStent inject® W, eye drops, and lasers, among others. If glaucoma is caught early and treated accordingly, Dr. Sarkisian thinks that no one should go blind from glaucoma.

Dr. Sarkisian recently spoke with KFOR-TV to discuss World Glaucoma Week and the importance of early detection and treatment. You can watch the full segment here.

KSBY-TV: Dr. Amir Discusses Available Glaucoma Treatments

Pacific Eye in San Luis Obispo, California, also held free glaucoma screenings during World Glaucoma Week to spread awareness for the silent eye condition. Dr. Ahmad Amir, ophthalmologist at Pacific Eye compares glaucoma to high blood pressure in that it’s very treatable. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, Dr. Amir explains that there are good treatments available, both medical and surgical. Awareness of the disease, risk factors, and presence all help your doctor to treat the condition properly.

Dr. Amir recently spoke with KSBY-TV to discuss glaucoma awareness and treatments. Check out the segment here.

KSBY-TV: Dr. Hulburd Highlights Importance of Education Surrounding Glaucoma

Dr. Christopher Hulburd, ophthalmologist at Pacific Eye, emphasizes the importance of education surrounding glaucoma. Dr. Hulburd hopes World Glaucoma Week helps to spread awareness of the importance of understanding glaucoma and how it can go unrecognized for many years.

While screening patients during Pacific Eye’s free World Glaucoma Week exams, Dr. Hulburd recently spoke with KSBY-TV about how the practice felt it was essential to offer these screenings to the public as a way of giving back to the community. Take a look at the footage here.

George Shares His Journey

George is no stranger to glaucoma, as he has a family history of the disease. His father lost vision in his left eye due to glaucoma, and a couple of his distant relatives also suffered from glaucoma. One of his relatives was completely blind because of it.

So when George himself was diagnosed with glaucoma two years ago, he jumped at the opportunity to be treated and was immediately put on a regimen of using eye drops to help manage his condition. Then, when new treatments became available, George was treated with the iStent inject® W during his cataract surgery. George is thrilled that there have been significant advances in the treatment of glaucoma over the years.

Although he feels that glaucoma is silent and scary, George wants others to know that now is a time to take charge of their condition. If you or someone you know is living with glaucoma, George recommends talking about it, finding out what treatments are available, and sharing that knowledge with others. George also recommended that those with glaucoma look into treating their condition as soon as possible.

To learn more about George’s journey with glaucoma, read his full story here. To learn about others who are living with glaucoma, read their stories here.

When in Doubt, Get Checked!

If you or someone you know suspects they may have an eye condition such as glaucoma, or if you have a family history of the disease, it’s important to get seen by an eyecare professional as soon as possible. The sooner you get a glaucoma test and receive a diagnosis, the sooner you are able to get treated, and the less likely you are to suffer from vision loss.

If you do have glaucoma and cataracts, leading ophthalmologists across the country offer iStent technology, including the most recently FDA-approved the iStent inject® W for the treatment of mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma. Find out if you are a candidate for iStent inject® W by talking with an iStent inject® W physician in your area today.

Locate an iStent physician near you:

Additionally, for more information on World Glaucoma Week, visit

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