To mark National Glaucoma Week Specsavers raised awareness of the seriousness of glaucoma by urging people to get their eyes tested; particularly if there is a family history of the condition.

Symptoms can range from blurred vision to severe eye and head pain however some symptoms can be hidden as Portadown man Robin Davey discovered earlier this year.

An unsuspecting condition

Robin had always had excellent vision when he last had his eyes tested ten years ago. Over the last five years however, he found reading small print a problem and had to wear glasses. In late January Robin noticed that his eyesight was getting much worse and called Specsavers in Portadown to book an appointment.

As soon as his optician, Laura Fitzsimmons, saw his pressure results she knew that his case was very serious. 

Glaucoma - the silent thief of sight

The specialist told Robin that he had glaucoma, which affects the eye nerves that connect to the brain and can lead to sight loss. With the use of laser eye treatment blocked channels which normally drain excess fluid from inside the eye were opened. Following treatment his right eye has had better vision than it has had for a year, and Robin will have to have further check-ups with his optician.

Full eye tests are essential

Michael Kennedy, ophthalmic director of Specsavers Portadown and Craigavon added: ‘Glaucoma can only be detected through a full eye test. It develops gradually, and the sufferer is often unaware of any problem until it is quite severe.

‘Other serious health issues can be detected through eye tests including diabetes, brain and eye tumours, cataract, age related macular degeneration and retinal detachment therefore Specsavers encourage everyone, to book in for regular appointments at least every two years.’

The optometrists at Specsavers Portadown and Craigavon have additional accreditations in minor eye conditions (MECs) and glaucoma. It means the store can offer eye health services to help manage a number of eye conditions allowing more people to be treated in store rather than having to go to their GP or hospital. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services.

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