There’s a good chance you’ve heard of glaucoma. It’s a complex group of diseases that affect the optic nerve – and like all eye conditions, one to be on top of.

Glaucoma is often called the thief of sight, as it can do a lot of damage before it’s even diagnosed, causing tunnel vision and even blindness in its most severe form. In Australia there are over 300,000 people with the disease, and it’s estimated that half of those cases are undiagnosed.

What should I look for?

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, get in to see your optometrist as soon as you can.

• Blurred vision
• Seeing rainbows, or haloes around lights
• Vision loss

How is glaucoma treated?

Treatment for glaucoma includes eye drops, medication, laser surgery and other procedures to lower the pressure inside the eye. It’s really important to get in as early as you can to prevent further loss of vision.

Any loss of eyesight is irreversible – but early detection through regular eye tests and treatment can make all the difference in slowing the progression of the disease.

Am I at risk?

Glaucoma doesn’t discriminate – you can start developing it at any age. The risk is higher if you’re older, and if someone in your family has it your risk is ten times higher too. All the more reason to stay ahead of it and have regular eye tests.

Risk factors include:

• age
• a family history
• diabetes
• migraine
• short-sightedness (myopia)
• a history of eye injuries
• elevated blood pressure
• use of steroid drugs
• ethnicity (Asian or African background are at increased risk)

We are here to help, ask your optometrist if you have any questions about glaucoma or book an eye test today.