Sight unseen

by Dan Bloom, producer

Dr. Eve Higginbotham was the perfect guest to speak with us about glaucoma.

A respected opthamologist educated at MIT and Harvard, she led the medical schools at the University of Maryland and Morehouse College. Today’s she’s Senior Vice President and Executive Dean of Health Sciences for one of our neighbors here in Washington DC, Howard University.

Dr. Higginbotham has dedicated her professional career to treating and researching glaucoma, especially in under-served and minority communities. African Americans are six to eight times more likely to contract glaucoma than Caucasians, and the disparity grows with age. With her particular expertise, Dr. Higginbotham is uniquely positioned to make progress on this issue precisely because she’s at Howard, a key hub of information, training and human resources for African American doctors.

The message isn’t just for African Americans, but for all people: get tested. Glaucoma is one of the primary causes of blindness worldwide and half the people afflicted don’t know they have it, but especially if detected early, it is preventable.

Dr. Higginbotham was also a great guest because she’s such an interesting person. She told us about her journey from segregated New Orleans to the bastions of blue bloods in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She showed her yellow & purple stripes expressing a love for Mardi Gras and admitted to a loves for  parties. Science could use thousands more Eve Higginbothams to speak to the public, and she might just be working on just that at Howard.

Visit The National Eye Institute at NIH for information on Glaucoma Awareness Month.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation was a wonderful resource is compiling this piece.