Be aware of glau­coma

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Op­tometrist Chris Boyle is urg­ing peo­ple to talk about their fam­ily med­i­cal his­tory dur­ing World Glau­coma Week, on from March 10 till 16.

‘‘First de­gree rel­a­tives of glau­coma pa­tients have an eight-fold in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing the disease,’’ Mr Boyle says.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant we know the con­di­tions our fam­ily mem­bers have been di­ag­nosed with so that we’re not caught un­awares.’’

It is es­ti­mated that 50 per cent of peo­ple with glau­coma are un­di­ag­nosed.

‘‘Glau­coma is the lead­ing cause of ir­re­versible blind­ness world­wide,’’ he says.

‘‘It is known as the ‘ sneak thief of sight’ be­cause it has very few symp­toms un­til the con­di­tion is ad­vanced,’’ he says.

‘‘If glau­coma goes un­de­tected it can grad­u­ally de­stroy your eye­sight, leav­ing you blind.’’

Mr Boyle says sim­ply talk­ing about your fam­ily’s med­i­cal his­tory and hav­ing a reg­u­lar eye test could save your sight.

‘‘While glau­coma is more com­mon as peo­ple get older, it can oc­cur at any age. If caught early, ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment can pre­vent fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion to sight, but we can­not undo dam­age once it has oc­curred.’’

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