There’s a very good reason why we celebrate World Glaucoma Week (March 6th – 12th). Glaucoma is a complex eye disease that can severely damage vision health and cause blindness. However, not many people know this, and some have never even heard of it.
At Eyesite we’re dedicated to looking after eye health and promoting vision comfort. We understand the importance of detecting Glaucoma as early as possible, and offer our patients a specialist eye exam that can spot even the smallest signs of the disease so it can be effectively treated. To mark this international event that brings to attention the seriousness of Glaucoma, we have put together the top 5 Glaucoma facts that you need to know:
Glaucoma is a Group of Eye Conditions
Glaucoma is not one, but a medley of serious eye conditions that damage the optic nerve in the eye (the nerve that sends signals to the brain). It can affect both eyes and usually develops as a result of pressure build up. In most cases, this pressure build-up occurs slowly, damaging the optic nerve and gradually causing blindness. This type of the disease is called Chronic Glaucoma.
It’s the Second Leading Cause of Blindness in the World
There’s an estimated 60 million cases of Glaucoma across the globe, and even if it is properly treated there is no guarantee blindness can be prevented. In fact, approximately 10% of people receiving proper treatment for the disease still experience loss of vision. Getting diagnosed and treated early is crucial for preventing blindness.
Everyone is at Risk
Absolutely anyone – of any age, ethnicity or level of health – can develop glaucoma. This is why it’s so important to get your eyes tested regularly. Although some individuals are at higher risk (including African-Americans, older people, diabetics, and people who are severely near-sighted), no one is completely risk-free. Even celebrities have battled the condition. Bono has been receiving treatment for Glaucoma for over 20 years!
It’s Hard To Detect
Chronic Glaucoma (the most common type) is very hard to detect because it has no early symptoms and doesn’t cause any pain. According to the NHS, in England and Wales it’s estimated more than 500,000 people have the disease, but many more don’t even know they have it! Many attribute changes in vision to getting older. Acute Glaucoma (another type of Glaucoma) is easier to diagnose because it often has severe symptoms, including a sharp, intense pain, tender eyes and redness.
There’s No Cure
If you’re diagnosed with glaucoma, treatment such as medication and/or surgery can help to halt blindness, but there is no definitive cure. Chronic glaucoma is a lifelong condition that needs to be managed effectively. Diagnosing the condition early is crucial, as it means sufferers can still enjoy good quality of life.
If you can’t remember when you had your last eye test, you should definitely consider booking an appointment with an optician as soon as possible. At Eyesite our optometrists are trained to recognise early signs of Glaucoma, and we offer a series of highly advanced tests to ensure your eye health and vision is on top form.