Chance of blindness from glaucoma cut in half

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The probability that glaucoma will blind you has diminished nearly 50 percent since 1980, according to a study published in Ophthalmology.

Glaucoma is still the leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting 60.5 million people globally and 2.7 million people over the age of 40 in the U.S. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic studied long-term data from a population study performed in Minnesota, and found the probability patients would become blind fell from 25.8 percent for those diagnosed between 1965 and 1980 to 13.5 percent for those diagnosed between 1981 and 2000. The reduction is believed to be the product of advances in diagnosing and therapies, researchers wrote.

"These results are extremely encouraging for both those suffering from glaucoma and the doctors who care for them, and suggest that the improvements in the diagnosis and treatment have played a key role in improving outcomes," study lead Arthur J. Sit, MD, was quoted as saying. “It is critical that research into this devastating disease continues, and all eye care providers be vigilant in looking for early signs of glaucoma during routine exams."

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