Glaucoma – The 'Silent Thief of Sight'

Glaucoma – The Silent Thief of Sight

2 in 100 Australians will develop glaucoma in their lifetime.

50% of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it.

10x You are more likely to develop glaucoma if a direct relative has it.


What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases where vision is lost due to damage to the optic nerve. It causes irreversible vision loss that is usually gradual and a considerable amount of peripheral (side) vision may be lost before a person is aware of any problem. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma.


What causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is usually caused by an increase in intraocular pressure which can damage the optic nerve. This increased pressure begins to damage the optic nerve which lies at the back of the eye. The optic nerve is made up of approximately one million nerve fibres which connect the back of the eye to the brain. Damage to these cells results in irreversible damage to your eyesight.


Who is at Risk?

Anyone can develop glaucoma, but the likelihood increases with age. According to Glaucoma Australia about 1 in 10,000 babies are born with glaucoma, by age 40 about 1 in 200 have glaucoma, rising to 1 in 8 at age 80.

In many cases, glaucoma is an inherited disease that is passed on within families, with the risk 10x more likely if you have a direct family member with glaucoma. So knowing your family history is important.

Other factors can also increase your risk, such as diabetes, an eye operation or injury or a prolonged course of steroid medication.


What can you do?

Early assessment by an optometrist, particularly if you have an increased risk of glaucoma, is critical in detecting glaucoma and commencing treatment in a timely manner.

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