This World Glaucoma Week (March 12-18), a local opticians is warning men in Sheffield against ignoring symptoms which could lead to blindness.

Specsavers’ warning comes as research reveals that males are more likely not to seek medical attention when warning signs develop, with potentially devastating consequences.

The silent thief of sight
Glaucoma is often described as the ‘silent thief of sight’ due to its gradual onset. In the early stages the condition is symptomless meaning that only an eye health professional can test for it and detect it. Over time however the condition causes pressure to build on the optic nerve, causing damage which if left untreated can lead to blindness.

A routine eye test with an optician can detect signs of glaucoma and the sooner it is picked up the higher the chance of successfully treating it. In order to raise awareness of glaucoma and encourage regular eye examinations, Specsavers has launched a health information campaign in partnership with the International Glaucoma Association (IGA).

The £1 million initiative coincides with this week’s World Glaucoma Week , from March 12-18.

Men are more at risk
Glaucoma affects more than 64 million people worldwide making it the leading cause of irreversible blindness globally. According to a recent study men are at greater risk of losing their sight than women because they ignore warning signs and do not seek medical attention.

The independent research which focussed on the eye condition glaucoma, carried out by City, University of London, showed that men are 16% more likely than women to suffer advanced vision loss on diagnosis of the condition. The reason for this is because men simply do not seek medical treatment as readily as women.

Specsavers Sheffield store director, Paul McGinty, says: ‘The only way to know if your eyes are healthy and your vision is accurate is to have your eyes checked by an optician at least once every two years.’

Karen Osborn, CEO of the IGA, says: ‘Glaucoma is found in 2% of the UK’s population aged over 40 . Most of those people have a slow developing form of the condition and we estimate that half of all cases – that’s over 300,000 people – remain undiagnosed and are unaware that they are slowly losing their sight.

‘The health awareness campaign the IGA is working on with Specsavers will educate about the importance of regular eye examinations before significant sight is lost. Once sight is lost it cannot be recovered.’

RNIB (The Royal National Institute of Blind People) and Specsavers ‘State of the Nation’ report revealed that nearly 14 million people in the UK are not having their eyes tested every two years as recommended, leading to a huge burden on the economy due to easily preventable vision-related issues.

Sally Harvey, Chief Executive of RNIB, said: ‘We welcome any initiative that encourages people to look after their eye health.

‘Regular eye tests and early detection on the high street, followed by timely intervention and management of eye health conditions, could help save your sight.’

Donate to the worthy cause
To donate to the IGA, text TEST17 £5 TO 70700 [Charity registered in England and Wales No.274681 and Scotland No. SC0415509]

To donate £3 to RNIB text DOTS to 70111

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