The leading cause of vision loss
Glaucoma is the leading cause of vision loss in Australia - over 300,000 Australians are currently living with the disease. While the effects of glaucoma can be devastating, regular visits to your optometrist will ensure it is detected as early as possible, which is essential for minimising vision loss.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve at the back of the eye resulting in irreversible vision loss. The disease progresses very slowly meaning many people don’t know they have it until they visit their optometrist.
The most common type of glaucoma is caused by increased pressure within the eye, but other causes include a lack of blood supply to the eye and weakness in the optic nerve.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
As mentioned earlier, glaucoma progresses very slowly, so people can go for years before they notice any symptoms. This is why it is essential to visit your optometrist at least every two years for regular check-ups to monitor the health of your eyes.
Glaucoma destroys vision gradually, usually starting at the sides of vision. It is not until vision is obviously lost that many people notice it.
Am I at risk of glaucoma?
While glaucoma is most common in older people, it can occur at any age. Everyone is at risk of glaucoma, however it is more common in certain groups.
Those at a higher risk of glaucoma include those with:
- A family history of glaucoma
- High blood pressure
How to prevent glaucoma
Visit your optometrist every two years so that they can monitor your eye health and check for any signs of glaucoma. Although the damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, it can be stopped in its tracks once it is detected.