Glaucoma – The Silent Thief of Sight

Glaucoma – The Silent Thief of Sight

Glaucoma is the second most prevalent cause of blindness in Australians over 55yrs of age1. It is known as the silent thief of sight as there are often very little or no symptoms until late in the disease process, highlighting the importance of regular eye examinations.

Glaucoma is often caused by increased pressure inside the eye due to disruption of the fluid pathways through the eye. It can, however, also occur in individuals with normal or low pressure. The result of this disease is to cause a reduction in your field of vision, beginning at the edges, and eventual blindness if left untreated. It does this by causing damage to the nerve fibres within the eye.

The risk for glaucoma increases with age, a family history of glaucoma, short-sightedness (myopia), high blood pressure, diabetes, past or present use of corticosteroids, and some ethnicities.

So what can we do? There are constant advances in technology used for the detection and treatment of glaucoma. Optometrists can measure your intraocular pressure, assess your visual field, and analyse the number of nerve fibres you have using an OCT as part of a full eye examination. Once a diagnosis is made, there are both medical and surgical interventions which may be used to protect your eyesight.

There are an estimated 150,000 undiagnosed glaucoma patients in Australia currently2 – with regular eye checks we can reduce this statistic and save sight, have you had your eyes tested recently?

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2005. Vision problems among older Australians. Bulletin 27. [Online] Accessed 12 March 2018.
2. Glaucoma Australia 2018. Glaucoma Week. [Online] Accessed 13 march 2018.

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