A Blackburn opticians has encouraged local residents to book in for an eye test during World Glaucoma Week (8th – 14th March), in a bid to boost the number of cases caught early.

One in 50 people in the UK over 40 are affected by glaucoma which, if left untreated, can cause blindness. Early detection means the disease can be controlled and future damage to vision is minimised so the two Specsavers in the town are urging everyone in Blackburn to have regular eye tests.

Over 40s more likely to develop glaucoma

Specsavers store director, Stuart Ingleby said: ‘People over the age of 40 are more likely to develop glaucoma although it can develop at a younger age. If left untreated it can cause blindness, but early detection vastly improves the chance of saving someone’s vision, which is why I am encouraging everyone in Blackburn to make sure they have an eye test if they haven’t had one in the last two years.’

Glaucoma causes fluid in the eye (aqueous humour) to get stuck as it is draining, causing a clog and adding pressure to the optic nerve. The pressure causes blindness if left untreated.

There are four main types of glaucoma, the most common being chronic open-angle glaucoma which accounts for 90% of all cases. ‘Open-angle’ is when vision is lost from the outer rim of the eye, slowly working towards the centre.

Important to catch cases early

Glaucoma often affects both eyes, with one eye usually developing the condition quicker than the other. However, if caught in the early stages it can be treated with eye drops, laser treatment or surgery.

Stuart continued: ‘Symptoms of glaucoma develop very slowly so in many cases people do not realise they have the disease until it is too late. You only get one pair of eyes so it is important to look after them – if you’ve not had an eye test in the last two years you should make an appointment as soon as possible.’

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