Many people are unaware that they have glaucoma, allowing the condition to slowly get worse over time, increasing their chances of sight loss. Below we go through the risk factors for glaucoma and how it can be treated. World Glaucoma Week is a great opportunity to come together while sharing important information that can save sight.
What is glaucoma and what causes it?
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve; it is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss. If left to progress, this condition can cause blind spots and or loss of peripheral vision, which is usually related to abnormal eye pressure. Although this condition can happen to anyone, it is more likely to occur in those aged over 60. There are certain risk factors for glaucoma which make you more likely to develop the condition.
You are more likely to develop this eye disease if:
- You’re over the age of 40
- You have a family history of glaucoma
- You’re diabetic
- Being Asian, black or Hispanic
- You use medication or steroids
- You’re a woman
- You have high blood pressure/hypertension
- You have myopia
How can you prevent glaucoma naturally?
Although there is no cure for this condition, it’s progression can be slowed down, which can help preserve eyesight. Prescription eye drops can help to slow down it’s progression.
Some people have no symptoms at all, making it all the more important to spot this condition early. The biggest way to prevent sight loss related to glaucoma is to have regular sight tests. You should have your eyes tested at least every 2 years, or more often if suggested by your GP or optician.
Leading a healthy lifestyle will help you maintain good eye health and avoid vision loss from this disease. Healthy behaviours to implement include being physically active, not smoking and eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will all contribute to maintaining your eye health and preventing diseases.
Can I get a free eye test if I have glaucoma?
Yes, you can get a free eye test if you have been advised that you have or are at risk of developing glaucoma. If you are a full-time student, have diabetes or claim benefits, you can also claim a free eye examination.
What is low vision?
Those with glaucoma can also sometimes suffer from low vision, a type of low-quality vision that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery. This can make daily tasks quite difficult, but help is available to support those with low vision problems. Read our guide on glaucoma for more information.
How can you get involved with Glaucoma Awareness Week?
One way of getting involved in Glaucoma Awareness week is by starting a conversation with your family and friends about glaucoma. Here are some informal ways in which you can start the conversation about glaucoma:
- Spread the word about Glaucoma Awareness Week and make sure they mark it in their calendar
- Order free glaucoma information booklets and share them with your family and friends
- Set up a family quiz night online to raise awareness about glaucoma. You can include lots of questions about eyes and perhaps some questions to explore your family’s eye history
- Create a family picnic where you can discuss glaucoma. Make sure you include lots of food for eye health