National Glaucoma Week 2018 runs between the 4th-10th of June. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and as we get older our risk of developing the disease significantly increases.
Pavi Agrawal, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at QMC writes.
In the U.K it is estimated that 600,00 people have glaucoma, with this number set to reach 1 million over the next 10 years.
So what is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye disease affecting the optic nerve, the part of the eye that transmits light signals from the retina to the brain. It is often associated with raised pressure within the eye. The high pressure damages the optic nerve and the cells that carry important information to the brain. As a result, patients being to lose their peripheral or side vision and as the disease progresses their central vision can begin to deteriorate; eventually leading to loss of sight. People with glaucoma may experience lighting appearing dimmer and parts of their vision becoming blurred. Glaucoma is often termed ‘the silent thief of the night’, as often patients have no symptoms, similar to having high blood pressure. This is why the condition can be dangerous, often not presenting itself until much later in the disease process.
But there is hope! By lowering the pressure in the eye we can slow down the progression of the disease and in some cases halt it altogether. This is done in the first instance by using regular eye drops or even laser treatments. Should the glaucoma progress despite medical therapy, surgical options are available to lower the eye pressure.
Due to the silent nature of this condition I would encourage everyone to use National Glaucoma Week to visit their local optician. A simple 20-minute eye test will be able to pick up even the earliest signs of glaucoma. Should the optician have any concerns, they will refer your local glaucoma consultant ophthalmologist for a more detailed examination. Early detection and management of glaucoma, can be key to saving your sight by slowing down disease progression.
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham
Should you require any further information please visit www.paviagrawal.co.uk