World Glaucoma week – Five key facts

Julie Breen

‘The silent blinding disease’, ‘the sneak thief of site’, no matter what you call it, or what variety you have, glaucoma is a terrible disease – and by 2020 s many as 11.2 million could be suffering with it undiagnosed. 

This is why, during world glaucoma week, this week our Facebook Live session concentrated on some of the key facts about glaucoma.

Be aware

While traditionally thought of as a disease that can affect older generations, glaucoma can strike at any age. Crucially if left untreated it can cause blindness, making regular sight tests vital.

Is it in the family?

Again, while glaucoma can affect any member of the public, it is common to find it in families where another relative is already suffering. For those with a family history of the disease we recommend eye tests every year, instead of two years, are vital to look for signs of any development.

Check your blindspot

The damage from glaucoma generally begins in the optic nerve, or ‘blindspot’.  Damage presents on the long nerves before moving towards your retina and affecting your peripheral vision first before moving in to the rest of the eye at varying speeds.

You may not see the problem

Your brain is a wonderful mechanism, and it will compensate more than you realise; particularly in the early stages of glaucoma. It will remember sites and ‘paint over’ the blurry vision of your peripheral vision so you may not even notice you have it at first.

It is only through regular eye tests that any early symptoms of glaucoma can be detected.

What happens next?

While the glaucoma itself can sound terrifying, you’ll be relieved to know that the cure is generally not too arduous. Once a patient has been referred from an optician to a hospital for further diagnosis they will be given drops, used every day, to help stave off the spread.

Unfortunately, glaucoma currently has no known cure but, rather than jump straight to surgery, drops can usually be a great method for staving off the effects.

Check out more about the progression and typical timelines on our latest Facebook Live video.