World Glaucoma Week 2018 (11-17 March)
In celebration of World Glaucoma Week 2018, Glaucoma Australia hosted a Beat Invisible Glaucoma (B.I.G) breakfast on Monday 12 March to raise awareness about the devastating, sight stealing condition. Currently it is estimated that 300,000 Australians have glaucoma and at least 150,000 of those people are currently living completely unaware that in the future they may lose their vison if they do not receive treatment.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can cause irreversible damage to the optic nerve, usually because of increased pressure inside the eye. If glaucoma goes undiagnosed it can lead to complete loss of sight that otherwise could have been prevented with treatment. In the early stages of glaucoma there are no noticeable symptoms – this is why glaucoma is often referred to as the ‘silent thief of sight’. By the time vison starts to become blurred or cloudy around the edges it is usually too late to reverse the damage – although there could still be time to halt the progression of vision loss. This is why it is so important to have your eyes checked regularly even when you do not have any symptoms.
It is possible to get glaucoma at any age, however, glaucoma is more common later in life. About 1 in 10,000 babies are born with glaucoma. At age 40 about 1 in 200 people have glaucoma and at age 80 about 1 in 8 people have glaucoma. If you have a first degree relative with glaucoma there is up to a 50 percent chance that you have glaucoma too or will develop glaucoma in the future. For this reason, it is recommended that if you are 40 years or older with a family history of glaucoma, or over 50 with no family history, it is important that you schedule in regular eye checks with an eye care professional.
Dr Alina Zeldovich RANZCO Ophthalmologist and Annie Gibbins CEO of Glaucoma Australia at the Glaucoma Australia B.I.G Breakfast celebrating the launch of World Glaucoma Week 2018.