There are nearly 10,000 in Suffolk registered as suffering from glaucoma, with the number forecast to rise to 12,000 by 2030 (28 per cent). Glaucoma, which is sometimes called the silent thief of sight, is the third main cause of blindness in the world and many people do not know they have it
Early detection can make the condition easier to manage, which is just one of the reasons opticians recommend getting an eye test at least every two years.
As part of World Glaucoma Week, Specsavers has put together five facts about how the condition can affect you.
1) A rise in eye pressure
Glaucoma causes fluid, which naturally occurs inside the eye, to stop draining properly, causing a build-up of pressure – often this can affect both eyes to varying degrees. There are two types of glaucoma – chronic (slow developing) and acute (sudden painful build-up of pressure)
2) Vision change
Although sometimes subtle, due to it occurring beyond one’s central vision, chronic glaucoma causes a loss of the peripheral vision, which begins to move slowly inwards. This can be detected by your optician with a visual field test. Acute glaucoma can present with blurred vision and haloes around lights.
3) Damage to the optic nerve
The excess pressure caused by glaucoma can affect both the nerve fibres from the retina and the optic nerve. This is able to be detected by your optician via digital retinal photography.
Genetics can often be a factor in whether or not you are more at risk of getting glaucoma, with those who have higher levels of short-sightedness and people of black-African decent being at the most risk.
According to research one in 50 people over the age of 40 is affected by glaucoma
When detected early glaucoma can usually be treated with daily eye drops and managed effectively to avoid blindness.
If you would like to talk to your optician about glaucoma or book an appointment, contact your local store.