SOURCE: Pfizer Ophthalmics

Pfizer Ophthalmics

March 08, 2010 09:00 ET

Leading Experts Spotlight "A Day in the Life With Glaucoma" to Demonstrate the Growing Impact of Glaucoma on Society

World Glaucoma Week Raises Global Awareness of the Importance of Eye Health

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 8, 2010) -  During World Glaucoma Week (March 7-13), leading glaucoma experts are joining forces to increase awareness of the consequences of diminished vision as a result of glaucoma and its impact on the daily lives of patients. According to research, examples of daily activities that can be difficult for glaucoma patients to manage include driving, locating items, walking on stairs and recognizing faces. Glaucoma can also cause slower walking, falling and avoidance of difficult driving situations, which can prohibit patients from maintaining the same level of freedom they experienced before the onset of the condition. (i) (ii) (iii)

Throughout World Glaucoma Week, people are encouraged to utilize resources from sources like the All Eyes on Glaucoma™ campaign to learn about eye health, glaucoma risk factors and the importance of regular, comprehensive eye exams that include evaluation of the optic nerve and the measurement of eye pressure. Since vision loss is permanent, glaucoma needs to be diagnosed and appropriately treated as early as possible. Due to the rapidly growing aging population, the prevalence of glaucoma is expected to rise from 60 million in 2010 to 80 million in 2020 globally.(iv)

John Patrick Shanley, Academy Award Winner for Best Screenplay for Moonstruck and playwright of Doubt, was diagnosed with advanced glaucoma in 1997. "Although glaucoma runs in my family, I took my sight for granted until I was faced with the harsh reality that I could go permanently blind from this condition," said John Patrick Shanley. "Fortunately my timely diagnosis and treatment has allowed me to live my life fully and to continue doing what I love. Now I realize that knowing your risk factors and being proactive about your eye health are crucial to help maintain a healthy, productive and fulfilling lifestyle."

In recognition of World Glaucoma Week, Shanley is starring in an online public service announcement (iPSA), titled "A Day in the Life with Glaucoma," co-sponsored by the All Eyes on Glaucoma™ campaign and the World Glaucoma Patient Association. The goal of the iPSA is to encourage people to learn the risk factors for developing glaucoma and the consequences associated with the condition and to reinforce the critical importance of eye health. To view the iPSA, visit http://www.westglen.com/online/all_eyes_on_glaucoma.htm.

"In addition to a greater risk of disability for patients themselves, delayed diagnosis of glaucoma results in increased healthcare costs for both the individual and society as a whole," said Scott R. Christensen, President of the World Glaucoma Patient Association. "It is crucial to educate the community on how to prevent the progression of glaucoma now to reduce the burden of functional vision loss later as the aging population continues to grow." 

Since glaucoma may not demonstrate any early symptoms, it's important to learn the risk factors and to discuss them with an eye health professional. The primary risk factors for glaucoma include(v):

  • Increasing age
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Have high intraocular pressure (IOP)
  • Are markedly nearsighted
  • Are of African descent (open-angle glaucoma)
  • Are of Asian descent (angle-closure glaucoma).(vi)

World Glaucoma Week is a joint initiative by the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) and World Glaucoma Patient Association (WGPA) designed to promote awareness of eye health and the importance of regular eye examinations to reduce the onset of glaucoma.

Please visit http://www.westglen.com/online/all_eyes_on_glaucoma.htm to view a very special iPSA.

About All Eyes on Glaucoma
The campaign All Eyes on Glaucoma is sponsored by Pfizer Ophthalmics and encourages at-risk individuals to understand more about glaucoma and the practical steps that need to be taken to preserve eye health and prevent optic nerve damage. The global educational program offers an informative website, www.alleyesonglaucoma.com, that provides online resources and support to help people take action now and avoid the negative consequences of vision loss later.

About Pfizer Ophthalmics
Pfizer Ophthalmics is committed to preserving sight and eliminating preventable blindness. Pfizer Ophthalmics discovers, develops and provides leading treatments in ophthalmology to support patients who are at risk of blindness or suffering from vision impairment, and to serve the health care professionals who treat them. Its current product line includes the most prescribed treatment to lower elevated eye pressure in patients with ocular hypertension (abnormally high eye pressure) or open-angle glaucoma. Pfizer Ophthalmics also markets a treatment for neovascular age related macular degeneration outside the U.S. This same treatment is marketed in the U.S. by (OSI) Eyetech.

Notes to Editors:
Glaucoma is the name given to a series of devastating diseases that irreversibly damage the eye's optic nerve. If left unchecked, this can result in serious vision loss over time. Glaucoma is commonly detected by measuring the pressure in the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP). When eye pressure increases over time, the optic nerve becomes damaged. Worldwide, an estimated 6.7 million people are blind from glaucoma, with approximately 70 million people living with the condition.(vi)

The two most common forms of glaucoma are:

  • Open-angle glaucoma - when the pressure in the eye increases over time due to poor drainage of the aqueous humor.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma - when the iris is too close to the drainage canal (trabecular meshwork).

The only modifiable glaucoma risk factor is high eye pressure, though it is possible to develop the condition without it. Due to the build-up of natural fluid produced by the eye, high eye pressure causes permanent damage to the optic nerve, the "cable" used by the eye to communicate to the brain. High eye pressure may exist without noticeable symptoms so many people do not know they have it if their vision is not checked regularly. In fact, people may not notice vision loss until 40 percent or more of their optic nerve has been damaged.(vii) IOP is an easily identifiable risk factor; however people who fall within the normal IOP range may still be at risk for glaucoma.


(i) Varma Rohit, et al. Impact of Severity and Bilaterality of Visual Impairment on Health Related Quality of Life. Ophthalmology Volume 113, 2006.

(ii) Freeman EE, et al. Glaucoma and the Quality of Life. Ophthalmology Volume 115, 2008. 

(iii) Odberg T, et al. The Impact of Glaucoma on the Quality of Life of Patients in Norway. Acta Ophthalmol. Scand. 2001: 79: 116–120

(iv) Quigley HA, Broman AT. The number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020. Br J Ophthalmol. 2006; 90: 262–267.

(v) The Glaucoma Foundation. Who's At Risk? Available at: http://www.glaucomafoundation.org/Risk.htm. Accessed on August 24, 2007. 

(vi) Congdon NG, Friedman DS, Lietman T. Important Causes of Visual Impairment in the World Today. JAMA. 2003; 290: 2057-2060.

(vii) American Family Physician. Open-Angle Glaucoma – May 1, 2003. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030501/1937.html. Accessed August 8, 2007.

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