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World Glaucoma Week 2018: March 11–17

It’s World Glaucoma Week from March 11–17 2018. This important week is designed to promote awareness about glaucoma.

What Is Glaucoma?

world glaucoma week 2018

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that result in loss of vision when the optic nerve is damaged.

The insidious thing about glaucoma is that there are no early warning signs or symptoms. The eye damage simmers quietly away, often for years, remaining undetected until the sufferer experiences vision loss and finally gets their eyes tested. Often it’s only then that glaucoma is diagnosed and by then it’s too late.

Once there is damage, it’s irreversible. Without treatment, the condition will likely progress further. However, early detection can stop or at least dramatically slow progression of glaucoma.

That’s why early testing is critical in glaucoma prevention.

Get more detail on what glaucoma is on the Glaucoma Australia website.

How Do You Prevent Glaucoma?

The best way to protect your vision and eye health, and prevent glaucoma, is regular eye testing with an Ophthalmologist.

Even though glaucoma often develops as we age, it can occur at any age – don’t make the mistake of believing that this is a “senior citizen’s disease”. Approximately 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in Australia has glaucoma and children and young adults can develop glaucoma as well.

What does “regular eye testing” entail?

Glaucoma Australia recommends that you begin having your eyes checked from the age of 35 and then every two years thereafter, or as recommended by your specialist.

Another way to protect your eyes against diseases like glaucoma is to invest in high-quality protective sunglasses. Studies have shown that UV damage to the eye from the sun’s rays can cause eye disease and cancer. Surgery and treatments needed to address this damage can trigger glaucoma, especially secondary glaucomas which can result from previous eye injuries and conditions.

Found out more about testing for glaucoma and detection of glaucoma.


Who Is At Risk of Developing Glaucoma?

No one is exempt from the possibility of developing glaucoma. However, certain types of people need to pay special attention by ensuring their sunglasses offer proper sun protection, and by being vigilant about regular eye testing.

You are most at risk of developing glaucoma if you:

* Have a family history of glaucoma
* Have other eye conditions or injuries, or a previous history of eye damage, especially Exfoliation Syndrome (ES)
* Experience pressure in and around your eyes
* Are over 50 years of age
* Have diabetes
* Are long-sighted or short-sighted
* Have used cortisone drugs (steroids) for a prolonged period of time
* Experience migraines
* Have high or low blood pressure.

    Facts About Glaucoma (courtesy of Glaucoma Australia)

    * More than 300,000 (about 2.3% of) Australians have glaucoma, yet only 50% have been diagnosed, typically because they lack noticeable symptoms and haven’t had a simple eye exam.
    * About 1 in 10,000 babies are born with glaucoma, by age 40, about 1 in 200 have glaucoma, rising to 1 in 8 at age 80.
    * You are 10 times more likely to have glaucoma if you have a direct family member with glaucoma, and up to 50% more likely if their glaucoma is advanced.
    * 2 in 100 Australians will develop Glaucoma in their lifetime.
    * 1 in 8 Australians aged over 80 years will develop glaucoma.
    * In the early stages of glaucoma there are virtually no symptoms or warning signs. There is usually no pain and a significant amount of peripheral or side vision can be lost before a person with glaucoma may notice.
    * Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated. Approximately 10% of people in Australia with glaucoma who receive proper treatment still experience significant vision loss.
    * Currently there is no cure for glaucoma.

      World Glaucoma Week in Australia

      Glaucoma Australia’s Glaucoma Awareness Week campaign aims to find 150,000 Australians who are unaware that they have glaucoma.

      Why would they want to do such a thing?

      To raise awareness of just how many people have this degenerative disease, but don’t know it. And to spread the message that loss of vision can be prevented with early detection of glaucoma.

      Glaucoma Australia are especially encouraging relatives of glaucoma sufferers to have a comprehensive eye exam. Eye tests should occur at least every two years from age 35, but those of higher risk may be advised to have more frequent tests, and sooner.

      Help Spread Awareness About Glaucoma In Australia

      Blindness from glaucoma is both tragic and unacceptable as it is largely preventable and treatable. ~ Glaucoma Australia Ophthalmology Committee Chair Dr Simon Skalicky.

      If detected and treated early, glaucoma blindness can be avoided. Taking the time to have a comprehensive eye exam can save your sight. ~ Glaucoma Australia Optometry Committee Chair Dr Ben Ashby.

      Considering you are 10 times more likely to have glaucoma if you have a direct family member with glaucoma, and up to 50% more likely if their glaucoma is advanced, it is the relatives who we are reaching out to during World Glaucoma Week to be glaucoma aware and increase early detection. Our primary mission is to eliminate blindness due to glaucoma. ~ Glaucoma Australia CEO Annie Gibbins.

      Download the Glaucoma Australia free glaucoma awareness resources here. Use this info, and the hashtag #GlaucomaAware on social media, to help spread the message about the importance of testing and prevention when it comes to glaucoma.

      You can also host a B.I.G. (Beat Invisible Glaucoma) Breakfast during World Glaucoma Week (March 11–17, 2018) to raise funds for glaucoma awareness, detection, diagnosis, support and research.

      Let’s eradicate blindness caused by glaucoma. Are you on board?