World Glaucoma Week (March 6 – 12) aims to focus attention on the disease and increase glaucoma testing around the world.
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but the incidence increases with age. About 1 in 10,000 babies are born with glaucoma, by age 40 about 1 in 200 have glaucoma, rising to 1 in 8 at age 80.
Some people have a higher risk of developing glaucoma – they are people who:
- have a family history of glaucoma
- have high eye pressure
- are aged over 50
- are of African or Asian descent
- have diabetes
- are short or long sighted
- have been on a prolonged course of cortisone (steroid) medication
- experience migraines
- have had an eye operation or eye injury
- have a history of high or low blood pressure
- experience obstructive sleep apnoea
Left untreated, glaucoma causes irreversible vision loss. Early detection saves sight. Early assessment by an optometrist, particularly if you have a family history of glaucoma, is critical in detecting glaucoma and commencing treatment in a timely manner.
Glaucoma Australia recommends all Australians aged 50 or older visit an optometrist every 2 years for a comprehensive eye exam, and if you have a family history of glaucoma or are of Asian or African descent, we recommend you get your eyes checked every 2 years from the age of 40.
If a member of your family has glaucoma, we recommend that you get regular eye health checks starting 5-10 years earlier than the age your affected relative developed glaucoma.