World Glaucoma Week 2019 (10 – 16 March)
During World Glaucoma Week (10 – 16 March) Glaucoma Australia will launch a new risk awareness campaign targeting people who are at greater risk of developing glaucoma to encourage them to get their eyes tested.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of avoidable blindness worldwide, affecting over 300,000 Australians1, yet it is estimated that 50% of those living with glaucoma are undiagnosed1.
While nine out of 10 Australians say that sight is their most valued sense 2, over 8 million Australians are still not having regular eye tests3.
Who is at risk?
Although anyone may develop glaucoma, some people have a higher risk – they are people who:
- have a family history of glaucoma
- have high eye pressure
- are aged over 50
- are of African or Asian descent
- have diabetes
- have myopia (nearsighted)
- have been on a prolonged course of cortisone (steroid) medication
- experience migraines
- have had an eye operation or eye injury
- who have a history or high or low blood pressure
Abridged: NHMRC Guidelines, 2010
Glaucoma Australia recommends all Australians 50 years or older visit an optometrist every 2 years for a comprehensive eye exam, and if you have a family history of glaucoma or are of Asian or African descent we recommend you get your eyes checked every 2 years from the age of 40.
Did you know?
- Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Australia
- Known as the ‘silent thief of sight’ glaucoma develops slowly and often without any symptoms, leaving people undetected until the disease reaches an advanced stage. Left untreated, it can cause vision loss and may even lead to blindness.
- While vision loss can’t be restored, early diagnosis and treatment can delay or halt the progression of the disease. That is why it’s so important to detect the problem as early as possible.
- It is estimated that there are 300,000 Australians living with glaucoma, but over 50% are unaware they have it, thinking they have healthy eyes.
- Glaucoma is hereditary – you are 10x more likely to have glaucoma if you have a direct family member with glaucoma.
- First degree relatives of a person with glaucoma have an almost 1 in 4 chance if developing glaucoma in their lifetime, and that risk increases to 56% if their glaucoma is advanced. So knowing your family health is important.
How to get involved
Start a conversation
- Encourage people at risk of developing glaucoma to get their eyes checked at least every 2 years.
- Remind anyone with glaucoma to alert first-degree relatives of the benefits of early and regular eye checks.