Eye disease danger to be spelt out
Glaucoma NZ is holding a free public meeting next month to share an important message.
‘‘Don’t let the sneak thief of sight take away your quality of life.’’
Glaucoma is dubbed the sneak thief of sight because once it begins to steal away peripheral vision people don’t realise it’s happening.
‘‘What’s worse, you can never get back the sight that’s been stolen,’’ Glaucoma NZ says.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in New Zealand.
One of the reasons people still go blind from glaucoma is because they only notice loss of vision very late in the disease. There are no symptoms at first. They might start stumbling into things and fall and blame old age or clumsiness.
Left this late glaucoma can mean the loss of a driver’s licence, or inability to carry out usual work, sport or hobbies.
However, with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment people can save themselves from further sight loss.
Glaucoma is extremely common, but health professionals estimate that 50 per cent of people with glaucoma do not even realise they have it.
Regular eye health examinations by an optometrist will assess whether people have or are at risk of developing glaucoma.
Glaucoma NZ is a nongovernment funded charitable trust working to reduce the effects glaucoma in New Zealand.
It recommends that everyone has an eye examination at age 45 and then five yearly until age 60 and every three years after that.
If you know of extra risk factors such as a family history, steroid use or a previous eye injury you should be examined earlier.
Go to glaucoma.org.nz or phone 0800 GLAUCOMA (0800 452 826) for more information.
Glaucoma NZ is holding a free public meeting at 10am on May 4 at the Mary Thomas Centre, Channel View Lounge, 3 Gibbons Rd, Takapuna.
Ophthalmologist Dr Dean Corbett will speak about glaucoma and treatment options.
Extremely common: Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in New Zealand.