This is World Glaucoma Week
12 March 2018
What is glaucoma and why, as an independent optician in Newcastle, we measure Intra-ocular pressure (IOP) at your sight test.
Glaucoma is a group of conditions where there is progressive damage to the optic nerve as it leaves the back of the eye. Glaucoma is often linked with raised IOP and can result in areas of loss of vision in the sufferer's peripheral vision. If not successfully treated, glaucoma can lead to complete loss of vision.
Glaucoma is one of the main causes of blindness in the developed world, not least because sufferers developing glaucoma are usually unaware of it until the disease is in its more advanced stages. There are often no symptoms in the early stages, which is why regular sight tests are so important.
As an optician in Newcastle, if we find raised IOP at your eye examination and we are concerned that this may lead to glaucoma, we will refer you to see an ophthalmologist, normally at the Newcastle RVI, who specialises in glaucoma, to see whether glaucoma treatment should be considered. Treating glaucoma early, normally with drops, can prevent the loss of vision that can occur in an untreated eye.
So IOP measurement is one of the most important parts of routine eye care and should be carried out at your regular opticians visits. It is, in fact one, of the top reasons that regular sight tests at an optician are a critical part of your health care.
Here are some of the main risk factors for Glaucoma:
Age: Glaucoma is uncommon in under 40s and its prevalence rises with age. At age 40, 2% of the population are affected with glaucoma, with this rising to 5% of 80 year olds.
Ethnicity: If you are of Black African or Black Caribbean origin, this increases your risk of developing glaucoma by around 5 times.
Family History: If you have a first degree relative with glaucoma, this increases your risk of glaucoma by 3 to 4 times. When you visit Keyes Eyecare, opticians, Newcastle, we will ask you about your family history as part of your eye examination.
Short-sightedness: If you have a moderate or high degree of myopia (short-sightedness) this also increases your risk of developing glaucoma.
General health conditions: If you suffer from certain medical conditions such as migraine, diabetes or low blood pressure these can increase your risk of developing glaucoma, as can prolonged use of steroids. When you visit Keyes Eyecare, opticians, Newcastle, we will ask you about your general health, as part of your eye examination.
Lifestyle: As with many conditions, being obese and having a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of glaucoma.
If you want to know more about glaucoma or eye care more broadly, please contact us at Keyes Eyecare opticians, Newcastle on 0191 284 7361 or email [email protected]