As a home care provider supporting many clients who have or are at risk of developing glaucoma, Senior Helpers would like to alert members of the community and their families to the fact that about 50% of Australians who have developed glaucoma are not aware of the condition as they are not noticing any significant symptoms.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that leads to damage to the optic nerve. This is generally the result of increased pressure inside the eyeball and this leads to irreversible loss of vision. While glaucoma is more prevalent on older people, it can occur at any age. Having a near relative (parent, sibling or grandparent) who has/had glaucoma increases your risk 10-fold.
As a child, we had tunnel vision (paying attention to those things directly ahead of us) with glaucoma, there is a loss of peripheral vision over time, often without any great awareness until the loss is significant.
Glaucoma cannot be self-detected or self-treated. It is diagnosed through eye testing with an optometrist. Even if your vision has remained strong through adulthood, treating yourself to an annual eye exam may prevent vision loss.
Treatment, medication or surgical, have improved significantly over decades and what was once a risky surgery (from a complication point of view), is now a daily and low risk event. The right diagnosis early in the disease may avoid the need for surgery in the long term.