We reported earlier in the week that it is World Glaucoma Week (March 8 – 14), with the theme “B-I-G – Beat Invisible Glaucoma”.
It is estimated that 50% of cases of glaucoma remain undetected in the UK. It is very difficult to spot the symptoms of glaucoma, and it is important to undergo regular eye checks. There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but early detection means that medication (usually eye drops) or surgery can halt or slow down further vision loss.
What you can do to prevent glaucoma
Regular eye exams are the best form of prevention. Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can mean that most people can retain their sight. In general, a check for glaucoma should be done:
- Before age 40, every two to four years
- From age 40 to age 54, every one to three years
- From age 55 to 64, every one to two years
- From age 65, every six to 12 months.
Are you at high risk of developing glaucoma?
Those at high risk of developing glaucoma should be tested every one to two years from age 35. These include people of black African or black Caribbean descent, people with diabetes and people with a family history of glaucoma. If you have a parent or sibling with glaucoma you are at increased risk.
Other ways to help prevent the development of glaucoma is to take regular exercise, and to protect your eyes when engaging in sports or DIY.
You are entitled to a free NHS eye test if you are over 40 years old and have a first-degree relative (mother, father, sister or brother) with glaucoma.
You may also be entitled to a free NHS eye test if:
- An ophthalmologist (eye specialist) thinks you are at risk of developing glaucoma
- You are over 60 years old.