Have you ever taken a moment to imagine life without sight? Everything changes. Everyday tasks become a marathon, you are unable to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, and you would never again see the faces of those you love.
Sadly, for some people this is a reality. What’s worse is that for many of these people, blindness could have been prevented with regular eye examinations.
The leading cause of sight loss in the UK is an eye condition called glaucoma. You’ve probably heard of it, but unless you have the condition you may not have spent too much time thinking about it. Maybe you should though.
You see, the early stages of glaucoma have no symptoms and usually sufferers don’t know they have it until it has caused some sight damage. Glaucoma affects the optic nerve which helps you see, and any damage caused is irreversible. This means that once the condition affects your central vision, it cannot be restored.
The good news is, routine eye examinations can spot early signs of the condition and once detected, your optician can treat it to stop it developing and causing damage to your vision.
And there are certain factors that mean you are more likely to develop glaucoma. It’s estimated you’re three times more likely to develop glaucoma if you have a sibling with it and twice as likely if you have a parent with the condition. Other risk factors include being over 60, health problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes or if you’ve had an eye injury or surgery in the past. A severe eye infection or inflammation can also put you at risk for glaucoma.
If you fall under any of the above categories, let your optician know. They will advise you of how often you should be having eye examinations, and if you meet certain criteria (if you are over 40 and have family history of glaucoma, if you are over 60, or if your optician thinks you are at risk of developing glaucoma) you will be eligible for free NHS eye tests from your optician.
At Eye Emporium, we carry about several tests to ensure your eyes are clear of glaucoma and other conditions. These tests are all quick and painless, so there is no need to worry about an invasive or uncomfortable examination. If you do have any concerns, speak to one of our team who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and put your mind at ease.
If we do detect any signs of glaucoma, we will refer you to a specialist for further tests. These tests will confirm if you have it, see how far it has developed, measure any damage it has caused, and work out a treatment plan. Treatment aims to control the condition to stop it from worsening and causing any sight damage. It is usually simply eye drops, but occasionally may involve laser treatment or surgery.
At Eye Emporium, we do see several cases of glaucoma each month. Fortunately, because our patients know the importance of regular eye examinations, we usually spot the signs in their early stages before any damage is caused.
If you would like any further information on glaucoma, if you are concerned about your vision, or it’s simply time to book your routine eye examination, contact the team at Eye Emporium. Call us on 0800 020 9202 and we’d be delighted to help.