Pittwater Life March 2018 Issue

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Looking out for

glaucoma signs

World Glaucoma Week

falls this month… so

what is glaucoma? It

is the name given to a group

of eye diseases where vision

is lost due to damage to the

optic nerve. Approximately

300,000 Australians have

glaucoma, and generally

there are no symptoms or

warning signs in the early

stages of this eye condition.

The loss of sight is gradual

and a considerable amount

of peripheral (side) vision

may be lost before there is an

awareness of any problem.

The primary problem in

glaucoma is damage to the

optic nerve. Intraocular pressure

is the fluid pressure

inside the eye, and the level

of eye pressure at which there

is progressive damage to an

optic nerve varies between

people: some individuals

with high eye pressures do

not develop nerve damage,

while others with normal eye

pressure develop progressive

nerve damage.

The best way to protect

your sight from glaucoma is to

have your eyes tested.

Glaucoma cannot be selfdetected,

and many people

affected by glaucoma may not

be aware of any vision loss.

It is important to remember

that while it is more common

as we get older, glaucoma

can occur at any age. Unfor-

tunately there is currently no

cure for glaucoma and vision

cannot be regained, although

early detection and adherence

to treatment can halt or

significantly slow progression.

Treatment is usually really

simple and involves using

drops in the eyes.

Important facts around

the disease: currently 50 per

with Rowena Beckenham

cent of people with glaucoma

remain undetected and firstdegree

relatives of people

with glaucoma have an up to

tenfold increased risk of developing

the disease

So the lesson this March is:

Talk to relatives and see your

optometrist for a comprehensive

eye examination that will

detect glaucoma.

Comment supplied by Rowena Beckenham, of

Beckenham Optometrist in Avalon (9918 0616). Rowena

has been involved in all facets of independent private

practice optometry in Avalon for 16 years, in addition

to working as a consultant to the optometric and

pharmaceutical industry, and regularly volunteering in

Aboriginal eyecare programs in regional NSW.

Health & Wellbeing

The Local Voice Since 1991

MARCH 2018 49

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