It is World Glaucoma Week with optometrists expressing concern over the low level of awareness of what is the world's leading cause of blindness.
Around 300,000 Australians live with glaucoma but this is expected to rise as the population ages. People aged over 50 are most at risk. However, it is also thought that around 50 per cent of people are unaware they have the disease because they have not had an eye test.
According to Bupa Optical optometrist, Karen Makin, “There is no doubt an aging population increases the national incidence of eye diseases, especially Glaucoma. That’s why it’s vital that awareness of the importance of eye tests is championed at government, medical provider, and family levels alike.
“We strongly encourage everyone, but particularly men and women over 50 years of age to visit an optometrist every 2 years for an eye test… it’s just a short consultation, but it could be the first step in saving your eyesight."
Optometrists check for glaucoma by examining the optic nerve and retina to pick up any early signs of the disease and measuring eye pressure.
“If there are any suspicious results, then your optometrist will discuss the options available which may include referral to an eye specialist,” said Ms Makin.