Eye disease dan­ger to be spelt out

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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JA­SON OXENHAM

Ex­tremely com­mon: Glau­coma is the lead­ing cause of pre­ventable blind­ness in New Zealand.

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