World Glaucoma week begins on Sunday 12 March and despite there being a great deal of research into the disease, there are still a number of misconceptions which continue to circulate. Specsavers Eltham store director Mike Williams busts a few of these myths around Glaucoma.
Myth 1: My vision is great, so I don’t have it…
‘We have a great number of people who come in store believing they couldn't possibly have glaucoma because they have 20/20 vision and are startled to find this isn't necessarily the case. It's a disease which only shows symptoms once at a moderate or advanced stage so people should not be under an illusion that eye sight quality is a good indicator.'
Myth 2: Glaucoma only affects the elderly
‘While this does have some element of truth to it, younger people are certainly at risk of developing glaucoma as well. We do see more instances of elderly people with glaucoma but it’s possible for babies to have congenital glaucoma so it can affect people of all ages.’
Myth 3: Glaucoma is always hereditary
‘Family history can certainly play a part in the development of glaucoma but there are a number of additional risk factors which people should be aware of that can increase the risks. Intraocular pressure, age and high blood pressure, for example, can all be contributing factors so just because it doesn’t run in the family, shouldn’t mean people think there is no chance of developing glaucoma.’
Myth 4: Glaucoma is only caused by elevated intraocular pressure (IOP)
‘There are a number of different types of glaucoma and not all of them are characterised simply by elevated IOP levels. Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve and for some people, this damage can be done by IOP levels that would generally be considered as ‘normal’