New York, NY, February 27, 2008 – Joining an international effort to raise awareness about the threat of glaucoma, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has officially proclaimed March 6, 2008 as World Glaucoma Day in New York City. The day will be marked around the globe by awareness and educational events organized by glaucoma institutions and local patient support groups worldwide, as listed on www.wgday.net.
The proclamation from Mayor Bloomberg states, “Drawing on the collective strength of patient support groups, medical professionals, and glaucoma institutions across the globe, World Glaucoma Day will help countless individuals avoid the preventable vision loss that arises from this prevalent disease. I commend the World Glaucoma Association and the World Glaucoma Patient Association for initiating this crucial public awareness campaign.”
"We are honored to have Mayor Bloomberg and New York City join our team and publicly support our efforts," said Dr. Robert Ritch, professor and chief of glaucoma services at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, co-founder of the World Glaucoma Patient Association, and member of the World Glaucoma Day committee for the World Glaucoma Association. “Raising awareness about glaucoma and the benefits of early detection is the main goal for this first annual event and having World Glaucoma Day officially commemorated by New York City is a wonderful way to start.”
Known as “the sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma is a disease characterized by gradual loss of vision resulting from death of the cells in the eye which transmits visual images through the optic nerve to the brain. As the optic nerve becomes increasingly damaged, permanent vision loss and blindness can occur. Early detection is the key to treating and halting the effects of glaucoma, but current worldwide estimates reveal that more than half of glaucoma sufferers do not even realize they have the disease.
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The World Glaucoma Association is an independent professional global organization dedicated to the overall improvement of glaucoma science and care. Comprised of leading medical experts and institutions throughout the world, the group’s overall goal is to optimize the quality of glaucoma research and treatment through increased communication and cooperation among international glaucoma societies, industries, and patient organizations.
The World Glaucoma Patient Association is an umbrella organization which supports glaucoma associations and networks worldwide in their efforts to educate and support their members so that all people with glaucoma can understand and better manage their disease. The WGPA will facilitate the establishment of new glaucoma support groups and coordinate communication and cooperation between existing groups, in addition to promoting international awareness of glaucoma as a cause of preventable blindness.
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