The Specsavers glaucoma awareness ambassador, Alan Murphy’s story is reaching people in Australia and New Zealand.
Alan from Belfast was diagnosed with glaucoma aged just 32 after it was detected after a routine check-up by an optician in Specsavers Connswater and was subsequently treated for the disease. Due to an early diagnosis Alan can manage his condition by taking daily eye drops and can continue to lead a normal life.
Since Alan’s experience he has been an avid campaigner for eye health and he is an ambassador for Specsaver’s Glaucoma Awareness week which occurs every year in March.
Spreading international awareness
Specsavers Australia and New Zealand were inspired by Alan’s story and will be featuring him as part of their latest glaucoma campaign in order to spread the awareness of eye health and the importance of eye tests.
What is glaucoma?
Often described as the ‘silent thief of sight’ due to its gradual onset, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible sight loss. It is thought to affect 700,000 people in the UK today.
Glaucoma is often related to a change in the flow of the fluid inside the eye, which leads to an increase in the pressure inside the eye, and damage to the optic nerve. Some types of glaucoma develop gradually and the sufferer is often unaware of any problem until it is quite severe.
Some kinds of glaucoma can be inherited and first-degree relatives (mother, father, brother, sister or child) of a glaucoma sufferer have approximately eight times the normal risk of developing primary open angle glaucoma. Once glaucoma is detected, the damage cannot be reversed. However, glaucoma therapy can prevent or slow down the progression of the disease.
As glaucoma in its early stages shows no symptoms, only an eye health professional can test for it and detect glaucoma.