March 6th – 12th is World Glaucoma Week, a global initiative to raise awareness on glaucoma.
It is estimated that by 2035, the number of people living with glaucoma in the UK will have risen by 44%.
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that result in progressive damage to the optic nerve. The major risk factor of glaucoma is elevated intraocular pressure. The pressure of the eye is determined by a balance between the fluid in the eye and its drainage out of the eye. In a normal eye, there is a health balance between fluid production and drainage. If this balance is disrupted, the pressure rises above normal levels, if this gets too high it can cause stress to the optic nerve leading to damage.
There are 3 common types of glaucoma: primary glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and developmental glaucoma.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, however there are several risk factors that make glaucoma more likely:
- Age – Primary angle glaucoma is more common with age, rising from the age of 40 upwards.
- Blood pressure – High blood pressure can lead to an increase in intraocular pressure. Low blood pressure can lead to insufficient blood supply to the optic nerve.
- Ethnicity – People of an Afro-Caribbean background are at 4 times more risk of developing primary open angle glaucoma than those of European origin.
- Family History – You are 4 times more at risk of developing glaucoma if you have a close blood relative who has it.
- Myopia – People who have a high myopic prescription are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes may be at higher risk of developing glaucoma.
Unfortunately, glaucoma may not present any symptoms in its early stages. Glaucoma commonly affects the peripheral vision first, which can go unnoticed as your central vision remains in good condition. The only way to find out if you have glaucoma is by attending regular eye examinations. By using our Optomap and OCT technology, our Optometrists can view the health of the eye in detail highlighting any changes in the eye health and diagnosing glaucoma in its earliest stages leading to early treatment and regular monitoring.
If you have noticed any changes in your vision recently, haven’t had an eye exam for 2 years or have concerns about glaucoma. Contact your local Eye Place today.