As part of World Glaucoma Week (11-17 March) Colchester woman, Karen Collins (41) is raising awareness of glaucoma after a diagnosis at her local Specsavers store last year.
Glaucoma, which causes a decrease in peripheral vision, currently affects an estimated 16,600 people in Essex (nearly 2,000 in Colchester alone) with an increase of 26 per cent forecast by 2030.
Karen says: ‘I went to Specsavers in Colchester for a routine eye check in October 2018, when opticians detected a problem with my vision-field test. Early detection by the opticians and referral to the hospital probably saved my sight.’
The third main cause of blindness
Research shows that glaucoma, which is often referred to as the silent thief of sight due to its gradual onset, is the third largest cause of blindness in the world* – yet 50 per cent of cases are going undiagnosed**.
Ophthalmic director of Specsavers in Colchester, Nicholas Hagan, says: ‘Glaucoma occurs when naturally-occurring fluid inside the eye does not drain properly causing a build-up of pressure. The condition often affects both eyes, usually to varying degrees, however, there are two types - chronic glaucoma which develops slowly and acute glaucoma which develops rapidly with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye.
‘Many people think that going for an eye test is all about prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses, but our state-of-the-art technology is able to detect serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as other medical issues including intracranial pressure, diabetes, high or low blood pressure and, on rare occasions, tumours behind the eyes. That’s why we advise regular eye tests at least every two years.’
‘I can’t thanks Specsavers enough’
Once diagnosed with the condition, Karen was prescribed daily eye drops to manage glaucoma. She says: ‘I can’t thank Specsavers in Colchester enough for the brilliant care they provided and the help I got. The early detection means I shouldn’t have much problem now in the future.’
Last year all Specsavers stores across Essex took part in glaucoma training with 64 team members across the county – 80 per cent - (3,500 nationwide) now fully equipped to advise customers of how to effectively administer their eye drops.
If you are concerned that you may have glaucoma or would like to book an appointment, please visit your opticians.
**The State of the Nation Eye Health 2017: A Year in Review, Specsavers/RNIB