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Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exams Help to Prevent Vision Loss from Glaucoma

Atlanta, Georgia – January 30, 2007 – Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world (cataracts are number one). According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are approximately 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older who have glaucoma. However, half of those are at risk for going blind because they do not know they have the disease.

That is why The Glaucoma Foundation has dubbed the disease as the "sneak thief of sight." Glaucoma is a complex disease and in the early stages, there may be no detectable symptoms. By the time a person experiences blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision, difficulty focusing on objects or notices halos around lights, the disease process can be quite advanced.

"Most people who have glaucoma don't notice symptoms until they begin to lose some vision. But you can help prevent vision loss from glaucoma if you detect and treat it in time," says Dr. Howard J. Braverman, president of the vision division of CompBenefits.

Glaucoma is a condition in which the optic nerve, responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain, is damaged. Although the nerve damage is usually associated with elevated pressure inside the eye, other factors can be involved. It may begin with the loss of peripheral vision and then advance to a reduction in central vision. Glaucoma can potentially lead to vision loss or blindness.

According to Dr. Braverman, "Although glaucoma cannot be cured, early detection and treatment can usually preserve vision." Dr. Braverman advises consumers to assess their risk factors and have their eyes thoroughly examined at the intervals recommended by their eye care professional.

"As part of Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, we urge all our members to get a comprehensive dilated eye examination. This is especially important for people who may be at a higher risk for developing glaucoma," says Dr. Braverman.

Dr. Braverman noted that anyone who falls into one or more of the following categories should talk with their eye care professional about how often a thorough dilated eye examination is required to ensure good vision. Anyone of any age can get glaucoma, however the higher risk groups include:
  • African-Americans and Hispanics over age 40,
  • People with other health conditions, such as diabetes,
  • Individuals who have experienced a serious eye injury,
  • Everyone over age 60, and
  • People with a family history of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a lifelong condition. For those who have this disease, the greatest opportunity to preserve one's vision and quality of life involves working together with an eye care professional on a treatment plan. Common treatments include oral or topical medication, as well as laser and conventional surgery.

CompBenefits' VisionCare Plan provides its members the benefit of receiving once-a-year professional vision and eye health exams with a complete analysis of visual functions, including a prescription for eyeglasses if needed.

About CompBenefits
CompBenefits Corporation, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, provides dental and vision benefit plans to over 4.8 million members in 31 states. CompBenefits offers a diversified portfolio of products designed to fulfill the oral health and eye health benefit needs of public and private sector employer groups, government-sponsored plans, health plans, and individuals. For more information, visit the company's website at:


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