ONE of the Gold Coast’s leading eye surgeons is urging locals to get their eyes checked during World Glaucoma Week, which is taking place until the 15th of March.
Glaucoma – known as ‘the sneak thief of sight’ – affects the optic nerve at the back of the eye which, over time, is slowly destroyed and can lead to blindness in untreated cases.
Over 300,000 Australians are currently affected by the disease and, as the population ages, the number of Glaucoma patients will increase.
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The Vision Eye Institute’s Dr Frank Howes, said Glaucoma is one of the main causes of blindness.
“The damage from Glaucoma progresses very slowly and destroys vision gradually, so most people are unaware they even have the condition,” Dr Howes said.
“Glaucoma blindness is not the result of ineffective therapies, but a result of low awareness of the disease, its risk factors and the need to have regular eye checks.
“Regular eye examinations are the only way to detect changes in the eyes and the gradual onset of Glaucoma.
“The damage is irreversible, but the good news is that if detected early our treatments will slow down or even stop the damage from worsening.
“To put it simply, regular eye checks can save eyesight,” he said.
Dr Howes said Glaucoma can affect anyone, but those with a family history of the disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and myopia have an increased risk.
“We urge anyone concerned about their sight to use World Glaucoma Week as a reminder to get regular checkups.
“The Glaucoma tests are extremely simple and painless optic nerve and pressure tests and should be undertaken every two years to check for any changes.
“Anyone concerned should make an appointment with their optometrist,” Dr Howes said.
For further information regarding World Glaucoma Week or for information on the disease visit www.glaucoma.org.au