Save your sight

Get your eyes checked this Glaucoma Week. Picture: UNSPLASH

This World Glaucoma Week (10–16 March 2024), Glaucoma Australia along with the support of Specsavers are urging all Southern Downs locals to have their eyes tested and save precious sight.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. 1 in 50 Australians will develop glaucoma in their lifetime, the equivalent of over 700 people in the Southern Downs. Alarmingly, 50 percent of people are unaware they have it and assume they have healthy eyes.

Specsavers Warwick Optometrist Richard Hoang said early detection and treatment can save sight.

“Booking an eye test is more than just seeing if you need glasses, it also allows us to check the health of your eyes and identify any changes to your vision caused by diseases such as glaucoma,” Mr Hoang said.

“This World Glaucoma Week book an eye test, don’t put it off.”

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 people will be diagnosed with the disease, rising to 1 in 8 at age 80.

Glaucoma Australia CEO Richard Wylie said Australians need to be aware of the ‘sneak thief of sight’ glaucoma and be reminded to get their eyes checked.  

“For patients that are suspected of having glaucoma or receive a glaucoma diagnosis, we provide one-on-one emotional and practical support delivered by qualified orthoptist educators and trained health counsellors,” Mr Wylie said.

“The SiGHTWiSE Program helps patients manage the anxiety around a glaucoma diagnosis and supports them with their ongoing challenges should they be diagnosed with the disease.”

Glaucoma is hereditary in most cases, and you are 10 times more likely to have glaucoma if you have a direct family member with glaucoma. First-degree relatives of a person with glaucoma have an almost 1 in 4 chance of developing glaucoma in their lifetime, and that risk increases to 56 percent if their glaucoma is advanced, so finding out your family history of the disease is critical.

Glaucoma Australia ambassador Kirk Pengilly is a key advocate for getting your eye tested. With no family history of glaucoma, his diagnosis was a shock and has been a key motivator in ensuring he doesn’t miss his regular eye check-ups. 

“An eye test is quick and painless and could be the difference between losing your vision, or not. Just as you go to the dentist or doctor for a check-up, you need to put an eye exam on your things-to-do list – particularly those over 50, like me. Use this World Glaucoma Week as a cue to book your eye test,” Kirk Pengilly said.

Glaucoma Australia recommends visiting your optometrist every two years for a comprehensive eye exam for those aged 50 and over, and if you have a family history of glaucoma, get your eyes checked every two years from the age of 40. 

Book your eye check this World Glaucoma Week (10–16 March 2024) visit Specsavers,