Be aware of glaucoma
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.’’