World Glaucoma Week
It is World Glaucoma Week and we are helping create awareness by advising people of the importance of regular eye examinations.
For many of us we only book an eye test when we suddenly realise that we cannot see the computer screen as well as we used to, or our arms aren’t long enough when we are trying to read the newspaper or a magazine.
However, it is recommended that we get an eye test at least every 2 years - even if you think there is nothing wrong. Your eyes can tell loads about your health in general.
So besides checking you can see to watch the TV, your Optician can also pick up signs for diseases like diabetes.
Glaucoma is another condition that can be picked up through an eye examination. Left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to loss of site and eventually blindness.
What is Glaucoma?
In Glaucoma, the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain becomes damaged. This is usually caused by fluid build up in the front part of the eye, due to the drainage channels becoming clogged up and blocked over time, so increasing the pressure in the eye.
It is this build-up of pressure that causes damage to the optic nerve.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may include blurred vision or rainbow-coloured circles around bright lights, but for most people there aren’t any.
The exception is, unless there is a sudden blockage of the drainage channels (Acute Glaucoma) then you could experience intense pain in and around the eye, redness, headache, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision. If you get these symptoms seek medical help immediately.
Glaucoma tends to develop slowly over many years and affects the edges of your vision (peripheral vision) first. That is why it is important to get regular eye tests.
Who is at risk?
Glaucoma tends to be more common in older age but that doesn’t mean it cannot develop at any age.
People of African, Caribbean or Asian origin are also at a higher risk as are those with a family history of the disease.
It may also be more common if you have other conditions, such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and diabetes.
Testing for Glaucoma
An Optician will do several checks to see if you have Glaucoma, these include checking the pressure in your eye, and asking you to take a visual fields test, in which you see a series of flashes of light on a screen and you click a buzzer when you see each one.
How is it treated?
Glaucoma is best prevented, because once vision is lost it cannot be brought back. It is therefore important that you ensure you get your eyes tested regularly. At Kingsbridge Opticians, part of the Kingsbridge Healthcare Group, we can offer a 4D eye test which can detect the early stages of this disease. To find out more or to book an eye test call us on 028 9066 7030.