Glaucoma is an eye diseases where vision is lost due to damage to the optic nerve. According to the Glaucoma Organisation of Australia, approximately 300,000 Australians have glaucoma. Generally there are no symptoms or warning signs in the early stages of this eye condition. The loss of sight is usually gradual and a considerable amount of peripheral (side) vision may be lost before there is an awareness of any problem. The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to have your eyes tested.
Glaucoma cannot be self-detected, and many people affected by glaucoma may not be aware of any vision loss. It is important to remember that while it is more common as we get older, glaucoma can occur at any age. Unfortunately there is currently no cure for glaucoma and vision cannot be regained, although early detection and adherence to treatment can halt or significantly slow progression.
- 2 in 100 Australians will develop Glaucoma in their lifetime
- 1 in 8 Australians aged over 80 years will develop glaucoma
- First degree relatives of glaucoma patients have an 8-fold increased risk of developing the disease
- At present, 50% of people with glaucoma in Australia remain undiagnosed
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world and the condition is not a consequence of ethnicity, age or sex. It can affect anybody at anytime. Whoopi Goldberg, Bono, Andrea Bocelli and Ray Charles are but a few celebrities who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Regular two yearly eye examinations are essential to early detection, and if you have a family history of Glaucoma you should be tested annually.