The Silent Thief of Sight

Glaucoma, 'the silent thief of sight', is the third main cause of blindness in the world. Yet, many people do not know they have it. In Hampshire, over 16,000 people are registered as suffering from the condition, with numbers projected to rise by 27 per cent to over 20,000 by 2030.

Opticians recommend getting an eye test at least every two years in order to stump a host of potential eye problems, including glaucoma, which can be easier to manage if detected early.

Coinciding with World Glaucoma Week, Specsavers has compiled a list of five facts about how the condition can affect you.

1) Eye pressure

Glaucoma affects the eyes by preventing its naturally occurring fluid from draining properly, causing a build-up of pressure – this can affect both eyes to varying degrees. Sufferers will be diagnosed with one of two types of glaucoma – a sudden and painful build-up of pressure (acute glaucoma) or a slow, developing form (chronic glaucoma).

2) A change in vision

Acute glaucoma can affect the quality of vision by blurring eyesight and causing haloes to form around lights. Chronic glaucoma, however, is often more subtle, causing the loss of peripheral vision which then begins to move inwards, as it occurs beyond one’s central vision.

3) Optic nerve damage

Nerve fibres from the retina and the optic nerve are also vulnerable to damage as a result of the excess pressure caused by glaucoma. Fortunately, opticians are able to detect these issues through digital retinal photography.

4) Age

Research shows that one in 50 people over the age of 40 are affected by glaucoma.

5) Genetics

Those with a familial history of short-sightedness, as well as those of black-African descent, are more at risk of getting glaucoma, as genetics can also be a factor in the likelihood of you developing the condition.

Glaucoma can be managed effectively if detected early. Normally, eye drops administered daily can prevent blindness.

To find out more about glaucoma, or book an appointment, contact your local store.

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