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Karmelo talks about Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a slow and progressive degeneration of the Optic Nerve. Usually affecting both eyes, but the signs and affect on vision can be unequal. Glaucoma in its advanced stages can cause significant and irreversible loss of peripheral vision which unfortunately can affect one's independence. Approximately 10% of UK blindness registrations are ascribed to glaucoma. In the UK about 2% of people older than 40 have glaucoma, and this rises to almost 10% in people older than 75. As people are living longer, those affected by glaucoma are expected to rise.
Who is at risk of developing Glaucoma?
(In order of relative risk)
If you have high eye pressure
If you have a first degree relative that has Glaucoma
If you are of African/Caribbean ethnicity
If you are short-sighted (myopic)
If you are over forty years of age
Early Detection is key to preventing sight loss from Glaucoma. How is Glaucoma detected?
1) Optic Nerve assessment.
The appearance of an optic nerve allows us to make basic judgements, but the latest in specialist imaging technology (e.g Optical Coherence Tomography), used in our comprehensive eye health exam allows us to make more informed decisions about risk, stage of the disease and progression. Using the latest technology enhances our ability to detect Glaucoma early and refer promptly to an eye hospital for treatment.
2) Peripheral Vision testing
As the visual field from each eye overlaps - losses in peripheral vision can be compensated for by the 'better' eye! Hence the need,to test the eyes separately and with a dedicated field screener.
3) Eye pressure measurement
Accurate measurements of eye pressure allows us to make important decisions about risk, appointment intervals and referral.
Take home messages:
It is possible to have Glaucoma and not know about it, therefore an annual eye exam is essential!
The lifetime risk of Glaucoma is up to x10 if you have a family history (first degree relative).
The visual loss suffered from glaucoma is irreversible but if caught early enough can be halted to prevent disabling visual loss.
Tools and training for the detection of glaucoma are the best they have ever been!

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