It may be surprising to some that glaucoma is actually one of the biggest causes of blindness in the world. In fact, it affects more than 64 million people worldwide, but many don’t even realise they have it due to the gradual onset nature of the condition.
Recent survey results from Specsavers and International Glaucoma Association (IGA) show that more than one in seven people have a family history of glaucoma.
Now, Specsavers stores in North West London are trying to raise awareness on the common eye condition known as the ‘silent thief’ by sharing some unusual facts and ways that can help and hinder it.
We’re all guilty of googling our symptoms but with glaucoma being symptomless, it’s important to understand what the condition is before you start worrying. What’s more, the survey results show that nearly a fifth of the nation has never even heard of glaucoma.
What is glaucoma?
Eye health experts at Specsavers explain that 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 with subtle changes to your vision, and acute glaucoma which develops rapidly with a sudden, painful build-up of pressure in the eye.’
People of black-African origin are at higher risk of glaucoma
Glaucoma strikes earlier and progresses faster in men and women of black-African or black-Caribbean origin and occurs about five times more often. The risk for glaucoma is 20% higher if the disease is in your family and blindness is about six times more common.
A word from the IGA
Karen Osborn Chief Executive of the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) adds: ‘There are several factors which could make you more at risk of developing glaucoma such as family history of the disease. Those who have black–African heritage or who have higher levels of short sightedness are also more at risk. Your age also plays a big part. Two in every 100 people over 40 are affected by the condition.’
How to prevent glaucoma
43% of the UK public do not know if they’re eligible for a free eye test so its essential people are aware they should be visiting their optometrist every two years.