This year the International Glaucoma Association is focusing on the importance of eye pressure in detecting glaucoma.
Raised eye pressure can lead to irreversible damage to the optic nerve, leading to loss of vision. With an estimated 600,000 people living with glaucoma in the UK alone, up to half of whom have not been diagnosed, it is vital to have regular eye health checks to prevent losing your sight unnecessarily. Globally, 64 million people suffer from the condition and it is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
Glaucoma is a condition where the optic nerve is damaged either mechanically or due to poor blood supply. The eyeball contains fluid which is constantly produced and excess is drained through tubes. When this excess fluid cannot drain properly, pressure builds up in the eye and can lead to the optic nerve (which connects the eye to the brain) and nerve fibres in the back of the eye to become damaged. Early diagnosis is key to prevent irreversible damage and visual impairment.
Many people are unaware they have glaucoma as several of the symptoms are unnoticeable in the early stages without having an eye examination. Up to 40% of sight can be permanently lost before the effects are noticed but early diagnosis means a combination of eye drops, laser treatment and surgery can be used to help treat the condition.
Glaucoma is diagnosed using a number of techniques during your eye examination. Your optometrist will check the appearance of your optic nerve), measure the pressure in your eye and conduct a visual field assessment. Attending regularly for eye examinations will ensure any signs of glaucoma can be detected early and treatment can begin as soon as possible. Even if you feel your ‘vision’ is fine, eye examinations are imperative to check the health of your eyes as well.
Close relatives of those with glaucoma are entitled to a free eye examination covered by the NHS if they are aged over 40. We have lots of information in the practice and on our social media pages. If you do have any queries please contact the practice.