World Glaucoma Week
In an effort to raise awareness about glaucoma, ‘the silent thief of sight,” this year March 10 to 16 will be World Glaucoma Week.
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
An optic nerve disease, glaucoma is usually caused by the build-up of the eye’s aqueous fluid. This results in increased pressure inside the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve. If untreated it can cause vision loss and in severe cases, blindness.
There are different forms of the disease, with the most common being primary open-angle glaucoma. Because of the gradual and imperceptible progression of the disease, glaucoma is often referred to as the sneak or silent thief of sight. Many people are simply not aware that they have the disease until their eyesight has significantly deteriorated.
EYE CATCHING STATISTICS
Perhaps because it does not show obvious symptoms until it is substantially developed, public knowledge about glaucoma does not reflect the disease’s prevalence in throughout the world.
Glaucoma is the leading causing of blindness after cataracts. It is a major cause of preventable blindness in Australia with over 300,000 people suffering from the condition. Worryingly, over half of these people are not aware that they are affected. As the early stages of the disease are not noticeable without a check-up, many cases go undiagnosed until it is too late to prevent the permanent loss of vision.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
By raising awareness through World Glaucoma Week, those involved, such as Glaucoma Australia, hope to encourage everyone to have the health of their eyes checked. There will be hundreds of events worldwide, with public screenings, information sessions, media coverage, and other awareness drives planned.
With the disease so easily preventable, the reasons for having a glaucoma check are as clear as day.