Officials Proclaim Efforts of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and Colleagues to Combat Leading Cause of Blindness

Mar 01, 2011, 11:46 ET from The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary


NEW YORK, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Joining an international effort to raise awareness about the threat of glaucoma, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has officially proclaimed March 6-12, 2011 as World Glaucoma Week in New York City.  The week is observed around the globe by awareness and educational events organized by eye care institutions and local patient support groups worldwide, as listed on

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.  

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 Week 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."  

World Glaucoma Week and efforts of The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEEI) to raise awareness received an outstanding show of support.

A joint resolution of the New York State Legislature commemorated World Glaucoma Week in March 2011 and recognized Robert Ritch, M.D., the Shelley and Steven Einhorn Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology and chief of glaucoma services at The York Eye and Ear Infirmary, as co-founder and organizer of this global campaign.

Other proclamations and declarations of World Glaucoma Week were issued by:

  • United States Senator Charles Schumer,
  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney,
  • Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer,
  • City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmembers Gale Brewer, Inez Dickens, Daniel Garodnick, Robert Jackson, Jessica Lapin, and Rosie Mendez, and
  • NYS Senators Tom Duane and Liz Kruger

"Glaucoma is a global disease, and because glaucoma strikes so silently and gradually, it is absolutely crucial to educate people around the world as well as in New York about the value of early detection," said Dr. Ritch.

About World Glaucoma Association:

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.

About World Glaucoma Patient Association:

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.

About Robert Ritch, M.D., and The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary:

For more than 30 years, Robert Ritch, M.D., of The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, has devoted his career to broadening understanding by the medical profession and patients about the nature of glaucoma and innovation in medical, laser, and surgical treatment of the disease.  Dr. Ritch holds the Shelley and Steven Einhorn Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology and is Surgeon Director and Chief of Glaucoma Services at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York City and Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at The New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY.

Founded in 1820 and located at 14th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary is the first specialty hospital in the Western Hemisphere.  It is also one of the largest providers of primary through tertiary eye care in the U.S. with more than 20,000 eye surgeries and 150,000 ophthalmology outpatient visits yearly.

SOURCE The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary