Between 2015 and 2035, the number of people living with glaucoma in the UK is expected to increase by 44%. With an ageing population and modern technology making earlier detection possible, more and more of us will find ourselves affected by glaucoma. If you are living with or have recently been diagnosed with glaucoma you are not alone and we are here to help you.
Glaucoma is a complicated disease. Put simply, it is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. Most people experience no symptoms in the early stages and the only way to know if you have it is to have an eye test. If it’s not treated, glaucoma can lead to irreversible sight loss and even blindness.
Risk Factors for Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma becomes more common with age. It’s fairly rare below age 40 but rises from about two in 100 over the age of 40 to more than one in 20 for those aged 80+.
People of African-Caribbean origin have about a four-times higher risk of primary open angle glaucoma compared to those of European origin. People of east Asian origin are at higher risk of developing primary angle closure glaucoma.
There is at least a four-times higher risk of developing glaucoma if you have a close blood relative who has it. So, if you have glaucoma, you should tell your relatives about the condition as they may need to be tested.
People with myopia/hyperopia are at increased risk of developing glaucoma.
People with diabetes may be at higher risk of developing glaucoma.
How do I know if I have glaucoma?
In the early stages, glaucoma might not present any symptoms. Most commonly, glaucoma affects your off-centre, or peripheral vision first and this can go unnoticed initially because your central vision, which we use for reading, recognising faces, watching tv etc, remains good.
The only way to know if you are affected is to go for regular eye health checks at your optician/ optometrist. They will carry out a few painless tests, including eye pressure and OCT scans, to find out if you need referring to an ophthalmologist for further investigation.
Glaucoma is a life-long, chronic disease that cannot be cured. Any sight lost due to glaucoma cannot be regained. But the good news is, with early diagnosis and effective medical treatment, the damage can be slowed or even stopped in its tracks meaning that in the UK, the vast majority of people with glaucoma will keep useful sight for life.
If you are concerned about Glaucoma or would like to have an in-depth health check done, please do give us a call and speak to one of our Optometrists today on 02072423492.