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Creighton Glaucoma Screening Initiative Hits the Road

Creighton Glaucoma Screening Initiative Hits the Road

Creighton University’s Glaucoma Screening Initiative will expand its efforts to serve a five-state area, University officials will announce Thursday.

On July 13, Creighton’s Office of Health Sciences’ Multicultural and Community Affairs (HS-MACA) will dedicate a new van that will be used to bring the division’s free glaucoma-screening program to at-risk populations in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas and Colorado. The dedication will take place at 3 p.m. in the Hixson-Lied Science Building atrium.

Since 2001, HS-MACA has reached out to populations that are at particular risk of developing glaucoma, including African Americans and Hispanics, through free eye screenings and educational programs and materials. Until now, those efforts have been limited primarily to north and south Omaha and several Native American reservations in Nebraska.

“Last year, we screened about 1,500 individuals in Nebraska and reached 10,000 through programs and materials. With the van, we will be able to double those numbers to at least 3,000 (screenings),” said Sade Kosoko-Lasaki (right), M.D., Creighton associate vice president for the health sciences.

An estimated 2.5 million Americans have glaucoma, and half of those individuals are unaware that they suffer from the disease, the second-leading cause of blindness in the United States. Early detection is critical in treating glaucoma, Kosoko-Lasaki noted.

Hispanics and African Americans over the age of 40, individuals 65 and older, people with family history of glaucoma, hypertension, diabetes, and those who have experienced a serious eye injury are at higher risk of glaucoma. She said at-risk individuals should have complete eye exams at least every one to two years.

Creighton’s Glaucoma Screening Initiative is “not a magic solution, but it gives us a baseline measurement,” Kosoko-Lasaki remarked. The initiative also helps to identify eye-care providers who may offer follow-up care at no or reduced cost to individuals who cannot pay for those services.

The Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation in New York helps support Creighton’s Glaucoma Screening Initiative. Health-care providers who are interested in offering their services to help treat individuals diagnosed with glaucoma and other eye disorders through the initiative, should call (402) 280- 2332.

Posted: 7/11/06